Israel Folau was at the centre of fresh controversy on Sunday when he opted against taking a knee in a Super League anti-racism protest.
Folau’s Dragons were hammered 34-6 by a St Helens, but the 31-year-old stole the headlines when he remained standing while other players and officials fell to their knees in support of the Black Lives Matter cause.
Controversial Israel Folau only player to refuse to take a knee before rugby game https://t.co/JAGMORvmpR— The Independent (@Independent) August 2, 2020
Catalans coach Steve McNamara defended his decision not to kneel, and said he was entitled to make a personal choice.
“As a group of players and coaching staff, we spoke about it in depth and as a club we are completely against racism and all for equal opportunity,” McNamara said.
“But there were some players and staff who made the decision not to take the knee. That was based on personal choice, they have their own reasons for doing that, and we decided we would respect anyone’s personal choice on the matter.”
It’s been reported that the fullback told teammates his refusal was ‘due to his religion’ with the superstar only ‘willing to kneel to God’.
The former Wallabies fullback signed a one-year contract with Catalans in January, having been sacked by Rugby Australia in 2019 for making homophobic comments on social media.
He has since signed a one-year extension to remain with the French side.
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Sir Ian McGeechan picks seven Englishmen in his Lions 2021 XV
15: Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
14: Anthony Watson (England)
“I’d definitely have Watson. He’s great under the high ball, has unbelievable feet and would be outstanding on hard South African grounds.”
13: Jonathan Davies (Wales)
12: Manu Tuilagi (England)
“At 12, I have to go with Manu. There’s such power there. And you’ll need that.”