Sport Comment: Warning to Rugby Australia: The Waratahs and Wallabies will be mediocre without Israel Folau

02:32  08 may  2018
02:32  08 may  2018 Source:   theroar.com.au

Waratahs out to break Australian drought when they take on the Blues

  Waratahs out to break Australian drought when they take on the Blues Israel Folau's keenly-watched return to action this week may well coincide with the end of Australia's embarrassing Super Rugby drought against New Zealand teams. Wallabies ace Folau is expected to play for the first time since airing his controversial religious beliefs about homosexuality on social media when the NSW Waratahs face the Blues on Saturday.The Brumbies' 21-8 home loss to the Crusaders on Saturday made it 36-straight wins for Kiwi teams against Australian sides.If that streak is to be broken it must surely be when the Tahs host the hapless and injury-ravaged Blues at Brookvale Oval.

Rugby Union Warning to Rugby Australia : The Waratahs and Wallabies will be mediocre without Israel Folau 16 comments . Rugby Union Why Major League Rugby could finally be the USA’s game changer 2 comments .

Warning to Rugby Australia : The Waratahs and Wallabies will be mediocre without Israel Folau (22). Why Major League Rugby could finally be the USA’s game changer (3). Australia still hasn’t come to grips with professional rugby .

  Comment: Warning to Rugby Australia: The Waratahs and Wallabies will be mediocre without Israel Folau © AP Photo/Rick Rycroft

Case 1: A star rugby player expresses the traditional Christian view on hell and gay people, admittedly in a blunt and uncompromising manner.

His tweet provokes, in the words of the Sydney Morning Herald’s respected sports writer Malcolm Knox, “a complex community debate about free speech, tolerance, evangelism and the responsibilities of role models.”

Officials at Rugby Australia and the NSW Waratahs, along with a couple of influential sponsors, claim that the player is guilty of disrespecting diversity. There are suggestions of contract retaliation if he repeats his views.

Israel Folau to make Super Rugby comeback at fullback against Blues

  Israel Folau to make Super Rugby comeback at fullback against Blues After playing four minutes of the Waratahs' last four matches, Israel Folau will return in his favoured position of fullback against the Blues.Five changes have been made to the Waratahs’ starting XV from the side that was thumped by the Lions 29-0 a fortnight ago; a result Gibson said the group was still “seething” over.

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Warning to Rugby Australia : The Waratahs and Wallabies will be mediocre without Israel Folau (16). Why Major League Rugby could finally be the USA’s game changer (2). Australia still hasn’t come to grips with professional rugby .

The player affirms that he has no regrets and no grudges against those who have attacked him, saying “it’s nothing to do personally with anyone, teammates or anyone that is involved in the game.”

However, a former Wallaby Nic White and a former All Black Brad Weber, in the name of diversity, say that they are disgusted at having to share the same code as Case 1.

These comments are applauded by rugby authorities and most of the rugby media.

Case 2: A senior Waratahs and Wallaby player who is often promoted in the media as the gregarious face of the rugby game gets drunk on his buck’s night.

Folau has no regrets but says he won't hold grudges against anyone

  Folau has no regrets but says he won't hold grudges against anyone Israel Folau says he is "standing firm" in his beliefs following a controversial remark that god's plan for gay people was "hell".On Saturday, the Waratahs fullback will be back on the field for the first time since late March after injuring his hamstring against the ACT Brumbies.

Warning to Rugby Australia : The Waratahs and Wallabies will be mediocre without Israel Folau (16). Why Major League Rugby could finally be the USA’s game changer (2). Australia still hasn’t come to grips with professional rugby .

Warning to Rugby Australia : The Waratahs and Wallabies will be mediocre without Israel Folau (16). Why Major League Rugby could finally be the USA’s game changer (2). Australia still hasn’t come to grips with professional rugby .

At a function in Sydney’s upmarket Woollahra Hotel and dressed in a cow’s suit he urinates over the bar. He is carted away in disgrace. He is so intoxicated he has very little recollection of the incident.

Case 2 then announces that he takes his responsibilities as a senior player in the Waratahs very seriously. He says “I’m a goose” and that he wants to “make sure that everyone knows how sorry I am.”

He is fined $4000, suspended from his leadership role with the Waratahs and cleared to play five days after the incident against the Auckland Blues, a must-win match for the Waratahs.

Andrew Webster, the star sports writer for the Herald, notes: “Look, we’re not condoning this sort of behaviour but … it happens.”

This passive and, let’s be honest, condoning attitude to the grotty cow’s suit incident is opposite to the strong condemnation promoted by Webster on the tweet made by Case 1.

Folau considering leaving Waratahs

  Folau considering leaving Waratahs Israel Folau is set to leave the NSW Waratahs if he decides to re-sign with Rugby Australia. According to News Corp, Folau might be on the move if he stays in the game, with a potential landing spot being the Queensland Reds.This all comes after Folau’s wife Maria took aim at the Waratahs for moving him to the wing for the final stages of their match against Auckland on Saturday.The Wallabies fullback has reportedly spoken to Reds coach Brad Thorn about a move north but there are a few obstacles in the way.

Warning to Rugby Australia : The Waratahs and Wallabies will be mediocre without Israel Folau (16). Why Major League Rugby could finally be the USA’s game changer (2). Australia still hasn’t come to grips with professional rugby .

Israel Folau will not be sanctioned by Rugby Australia (RA) for his controversial stance on homosexuality as Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson makes it clear the Super Rugby franchise hopes to retain the Wallabies superstar.

Nic White and Brad Weber do not comment on the Case 2 incident.

This silence creates the presumption that they find the tweet of Case 1 far more unacceptable than behaviour of Case 2.

Now here are some key questions.

Would we be interested in what Israel Folau (Case 1) or Nic Phipps (Case 2) say or do if they were not professional rugby players?

If the answer to this question is no (as it is reasonable to assume), then who out of Folau and Phipps has actually behaved in a way that threatens his ability to play competently as a professional rugby player?

Bear in mind, that a day or so before the incident in the hotel bar, Nick Phipps had been a member of the Waratahs squad that was defeated in Sydney, 29–0, by the touring South African side the Lions.

This was the first nil-loss by the Waratahs in Super Rugby.

You would have thought that a senior member of the Waratahs and other senior members with him, including the Waratahs captain Michael Hooper (but not Israel Folau), would have had more respect for their club than to allow Phipps’ drunken cow’s suit incident to even happen.

'Religious lunatic': former Wallaby slams Folau as Reds circle

  'Religious lunatic': former Wallaby slams Folau as Reds circle Former Wallaby Clyde Rathbone has offered the strongest criticism yet of Israel Folau as the Reds openly court the controversial fullback.Israel Folau continues to divide opinion and divert attention from the Waratahs' Super Rugby campaign with former Wallaby Clyde Rathbone labelling him a "religious lunatic" and Reds coach Brad Thorn calling him an "outstanding human".

Wallabies star Israel Folau has received the support of some of Australia 's top religious figures for his outspoken views on homosexuality. Rugby Australia (RA) boss Raelene Castle and the NSW Waratahs chief Andrew Hore are set to meet Folau on Tuesday over his use of social media, which

Man on a mission: Israel Folau says he takes nothing for granted and still wants to improve. The Waratahs and the Wallabies were happy to support a plan that would see their most prized athlete rest his body before the new Super Rugby season License this article. Waratahs . Comments disabled.

Is this the sort of behaviour that should be condoned when the Waratahs faced, five days later, the Auckland Blues, a match that Mark Ella reported in his Saturday column in the Australian, “is a game the Waratahs must win, for their own sake and for the sake of Australian rugby?”

Going into the Waratahs-Blues match at Manly’s Brookvale Oval (a great initiative by the Waratahs franchise, incidentally), the New Zealand Super Rugby teams had won 37 successive matches against their Australian opponents.

This dire run of losses prompted the New Zealand Herald’s Gregor Paul to predict that Australian rugby has set its “course for oblivion … and is no use to New Zealand any more if the Waratahs can’t put away the Blues …”

That is nonsense, of course. But there was something more important in Paul’s rant that Rugby Australia needs to absorb when he made this accusation: “Rugby in Australia has set course for oblivion and intends to be in a thousand pieces by the time it arrives.”

There are any number of points that can be made that give credence to this harsh judgment. And central to these points is the observation that the rugby authorities in Australia appear to have forgotten their primary mission, which should be to promote the rugby game in Australia.

Why is Rugby Australia’s board stacked with people whose expertise has nothing to do with understanding the rugby game?

'To Hell with your small mind, Folau'

  'To Hell with your small mind, Folau' The anti-gay rugby star faced a lone protester in Christchurch.Folau, along with his Waratah teammates, touched down in Christchurch on Friday ahead of their Saturday night clash against the Crusaders.

Warning to Rugby Australia : The Waratahs and Wallabies will be mediocre without Israel Folau (16). Why Major League Rugby could finally be the USA’s game changer (2). Australia still hasn’t come to grips with professional rugby .

Image caption Israel Folau is a high-profile rugby union player for Australia . Rugby Australia says it does not support the views of star player Israel Folau after he suggested that gay people would end up in hell. The Wallabies player was widely criticised for the comment

Why was the CEO appointed with no experience, other than watching, with the rugby game?

Why does the Rugby Australia board and the CEO allow the head of the Rugby Australia national coaching panel, Rod Kafer, to go on Sky Sports and then bag the players his coaching systems are supposed to be improving?

Why is Andrew Forrest, the billionaire mining magnate, being kept at arm’s length by Rugby Australia? Why isn’t he being embraced? Has he been offered a place on the board?

And putting this question into context is the observation that it was remarkable and indeed wonderful to see Andrew Forrest rush on to the field to check on the injured Force player, Peter Grant, as he was being pushed into the dressing room on a stretcher during the Force-Fiji Warriors match in Perth on Friday night.

The first World Series Rugby contest drew a crowd (with freebies to rugby-playing kids) of 18,000. The promotion of the series made the Super Rugby productions look mediocre by comparison.

Yet you get the impression that Forrest is being treated by Rugby Australia as an enemy rather than as a potential saviour.

During the Waratahs–Blues match it became obvious that Israel Folau is the only world-class player the Waratahs have.

I would rate Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale and Michael Hooper as very good Super Rugby players (at times) and the rest of the Waratahs squad as sliding up and down between good and average professional rugby players.

Foley, Beale and Hooper all did good things during the match against the Blues, with Hooper’s blazing, runaway try a highlight. But in crucial times in the match, they did not deliver.

Rugby stars show their support for diversity

  Rugby stars show their support for diversity Amidst the controversy stirred by Israel Folau and his views on homosexuality, other Super Rugby stars have been promoting inclusiveness. TJ Perenara and Ardie Savea were among a group of Hurricanes stars who wore rainbow shoelaces during Friday night's game against the Blues."Jamming rainbow laces with the brothers to support diversity in our game," Savea said on Instagram.https://www.instagram.com/p/BionDWvHAMh/"More than a game," Perenara said, sharing a photo of himself and Savea with teammates Michael Fatialofa and Blade Thomson holding their boots in the sheds.

Israel Folau at Waratahs training.Source:News Corp Australia . Leave a comment . Jump back to top. MORE IN rugby . Reds ready to celebrate massive milestone. Why Australia failed in Folau mess.

There were many occasions, including during the last desperate minutes of the match, when phase after phase was punched out by the Waratahs and the knockout punch not delivered.

Playmakers of high quality would have converted a couple of these sequences of pressure on the Blues try-line into points.

The last sequence of plays involved 19 phases and ended with Beale kicking across to Folau. Not even Folau’s supreme athleticism could result in pushing the ball back into the field of play. The kick was the wrong play, “the lowest percentage play the Waratahs could have played,” according to Greg Martin.

After the match, both coach Daryl Gibson and Beale, the kicker, suggested that the Waratahs believed that a penalty had been ruled in their favour which, in turn, gave Beale a licence to take a punt on the cross kick.

Whatever, it was the wrong play at the wrong time. The play exposed the bankruptcy of ideas the Waratahs have in their playbook to score from close range.

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This gets us back to Israel Folau.

At the beginning of the game, the Blues tested him a lot with high balls. They gave away this tactic when it became clear that, like with Ben Smith, he is a dominating force when leaping for the ball.

Folau also snared two kick-offs and with catching and then his running was instrumental in turning one of these kick-offs into a Waratahs try.

Every time Folau got the ball he made metres and created chances for the Waratahs.

All this leads to the inevitable conclusion. The Waratahs are a mediocre team without Israel Folau.

Wallabies coach stands by under-fire Folau .
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has spoken for the first time about superstar fullback Israel Folau's divisive posts about homosexuals.Speaking for the first time since Folau sparked a storm of controversy six weeks ago with with the first of a series of divisive posts about gays, Cheika said anyone who disagreed with his religious beliefs - including homosexuals - should ignore them.

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