The Australian backbencher Israel Folov, who was banned by his federation for expressing homosexual comments, wants to pick Tonga and play in the 2023 World Cup.
Israel Folov told A-AFP he was “absolutely not sorry” for the homophobic comments banned by the Australian Rugby Federation and was “absolutely interested” in the selection with Tonga in the run-up to the 2023 World Cup. “It would be a great honor if I got the chance. Let’s see if I get that chance, but I want to represent Tonga by wearing a Tongan shirt,” said the 32-year-old full-back, who is now playing. Japanese Championship.
Fallow was expelled from Rugby Australia in 2019: “Hell awaits you”, this devout evangelical Christian wrote about homosexuals on social networks. “I have no regrets, it took me to Japan, and I’m grateful for this opportunity.”
The news that sparked Fola’s end to life with Australia is still on his Instagram account, where it has been “liked” almost 75,000 times. His dismissal from Rugby Australia was criticized by supporters of freedom of expression and defenders of religious beliefs. In this case, Folov says he wants to ignore “outside noise”: “I can not worry about what people think of me”. “I do not see myself as a symbol or anything, I am a normal human being,” he says.
Tonga is one step away from the World Cup
His parents’ hometown of Tonga is only one step away from the 2023 World Cup in France: the touring play-offs in July against the Asian Championship winner. Voted by Tonga coach Todai Kefu, Folov is eligible to represent the Pacific under the new rules introduced by world rugby in November.
International players can now play for another national team if they have parents or grandparents born in the country they want to represent, without being selected for at least three years. Folov met these criteria, the last of his 73 selections with Wallabies before 2018, before the end of Rugby Australia’s contract, when legal action was taken for the player’s “wrong dismissal” and was finally settled amicably.
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