He joins NTT Communications in Japan

Israel Folau returns to rugby union

Controversial former Wallabies star Israel Folau has returned to rugby union, signing with NTT Communications in Japan – ahead of the implementation of a new professional rugby set-up in the country.

Folau recently saw his contract with Super League’s Catalan Dragons terminated, in order to return to Australia and join amateur rugby league side Southport Tigers. Folau made 15 appearances for the French league side. However, he will now head to Japan to join NTT’s Shining Arcs and once again meet up with coach Rob Penney.

A fundamentalist Christian, the 32-year-old full-back/wing saw his Rugby Australia contract terminated in 2019 after he posted a homophobic tweet. 

Folau started his career in rugby league, but switched to Australian Rules Football in 2011 and then went into union a few years later. He became a breakout star, earning 73 caps for the Wallabies – he marked his Test debut in 2013, against the British & Irish Lions no less, with two tries.

NTT Communications are based in Ichikawa city, in the Chiba Prefecture. Folau will also be joined there by Blues fly-half Otere Black – who is fresh from a starring for the Maori All Blacks in a 38-21 victory over Samoa on Saturday. Former Scotland scrum-half Greig Laidlaw played for NTT last season.

Japan’s Top League will go through some significant changes for the upcoming 2022 season as it transforms into part of a three-tiered, fully professional competition.

Do you think Israel Folau can kick-start his career in Japan? Let us know your views on our social media channels, or you can email us at rugbyworldletters@futurenet.com

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