Folau has not played for Australia since 2019 because of a homophobic tweet

Israel Folau is a controversial figure in rugby because of his personal views that he shares on social media.

He is now playing for Tonga internationally, here are a few things you should know about him.

Read more: Why Israel Folau was sacked by Australia

Ten things you should know about Israel Folau

1. Israel Folau was born on 3 April 1989 in Minto, Australia. He stands at 6ft 4in (1.94m) and weighs 16st 3lbs (103kg).

2. He currently plays for Urayasu D-Rocks but has previously competed for New South Wales in rugby union. 

3. Folau has competed in rugby league and played for clubs Melbourne Storm, Brisbane Broncos and the Catalan Dragons.

4. He has represented Australia in rugby league and union. However, he was fired by Rugby Australia after he uploaded a post to social media that warned homosexuals they faced going to hell in 2019. The post is still on his Instagram page.

5. When World Rugby changed eligibility rules for switching allegiances in 2021 it opened the door for Folau to return to international rugby. He switched to Tonga and was allowed to play for the country from 2022 onwards.

6. He was selected for the World XV led by Steve Hansen in 2023 and played against the Barbarians at Twickenham.

7. Folau has a sister and four brothers. One of his brothers, John, is also a rugby player.

8. He married New Zealand netball player Maria in 2017.

9. In May 2023 a documentary aired on ABC TV about the rise and fall of Folau in the sporting world. “Ultimately it’s a very sad story,” director Nel Minchin told The Guardian. “It cost [former Rugby Australia CEO] Raelene Castle and [ex-national coach] Michael Cheika their jobs, derailed the Wallabies’ 2019 World Cup campaign, cost millions of dollars in legal fees and bad press, and left a lot of innocent people cowering in a corner for all the hate speech it unleashed.”

10. He has played Australian rules football.

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