Former rugby league star Israel Folow has terminated his contract with the Australian Federation in 2019 after posting homosexual news on social media.
Controversial former Wallabies star Israel Folov will return to international action after being named in Tonga’s Rugby League World Cup qualifiers on Friday, three years after being dropped from the national team from Australia. Former All-Black players Charles Bhutov and Malacca Fekidova have been added to the Tonga squad following changes to the World Rugby Qualification Rules.
Folov, who is of Tongan descent, terminated his contract with the Australian Federation in 2019 after posting homosexual news on social media. After returning to the rugby league under the jersey of the Catalan Dragons in 2020, this evangelical Christian returned to rugby with the Shining Arks in Japan last summer.
“His presence will be one of the most exciting factors we can expect.”
Six months ago, when world rugby changed its rules, the path to international return was fully opened, allowing players who had not played Test cricket for three years to change countries and represent their parents or country. Grandparents were born. Folov, a three-time Wallabies player and one of the all-time leading scorers in super rugby, “is going to bring a lot of experience to the table,” Tonga manager Doday Kefu told Radio ABC.
“His presence will be one of the most exciting factors we can expect,” Kefu said. “He has new skills that we did not have before.” The 33-year-old Folov hopes the new qualifying rule will transform a game for Pacific Island teams, whose best players are often drawn to Australia and New Zealand.
Tonga is one step away from the World Cup
“It will raise the level of world rugby and strengthen this tier 2 countries,” he told AFP in a recent interview. “This will strengthen Tonga, but Samoa and Fiji. All these players will be available to represent their countries,” Folov said. Fekidova, who played in 24 Tests for the All Blacks between 2014 and 2017, now plays for Munster in Ireland. He was born in Tonga and moved to New Zealand at the age of 17.
Budov, who played in 17 Tests for the Blacks until 2015 and is now playing for the Bristol Pierce team, was born to Tongan parents in New Zealand. Tonga will face Samoa in two matches in New Zealand on July 10 and 17, with the winner receiving a ticket to the 2023 World Cup.
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