Folau left out by Catalans amid Super League backlash

2 min

London (AFP)

Israel Folau will not make his Catalans Dragons debut at Wakefield on Sunday as the fall out at the Australian international's controversial signing rages on.

Folau, 30, an ardent Christian and former poster boy of Australian rugby, was fired last May by Rugby Australia over a social media post warning "hell awaits" gay people and others he considers sinners.

His arrival in Super League has been met with widespread condemnation from other clubs and sparked a rule change to allow the league more power to prevent "controversial signings" in the future.

Super League executive chairman Robert Elstone said this week he had "sleepless nights" over whether to sanction Folau's signing by the French club.

"I think it was a sad day for Super League," Elstone told the Inside Super League show.

"I had a few sleepless nights on it. I think we came to the wrong conclusion."

Wakefield are planning to hold a celebration of inclusivity ahead of Sunday's fixture, following Wigan's decision to make their clash with Catalans next month "Pride Day" with players wearing Rainbow socks and laces and LGBTQ+ groups invited.

However, Folau was not included in Dragons coach Steve McNamara's 21-man squad on Friday due to a lack of match fitness.

Folau's last competitive match was April 2019 and he has not played rugby league since switching codes 10 years ago.