Israel Folau could make his return to rugby union this year, as three Top 14 clubs are reportedly interested in signing him for next season.
The former Wallaby was sacked by Rugby Australia in May 2019, after a number of social media posts that were deemed to be homophobic, ending his career with Australia and the New South Wales Waratahs.
Folau launched legal proceedings against Rugby Australia, claiming he had been wrongfully terminated, on the basis of religion and breach of contract.
I confirm I have commenced court proceedings against Rugby Australia and NSW Waratahs. Thank you to those who have supported me over this journey – it has meant so much to Maria and me. God bless. pic.twitter.com/Ojgw9uRw79
— Israel Folau (@IzzyFolau) July 31, 2019
A confidential settlement was eventually reached between the two, with Folau and Rugby Australia issuing a joint statement and apology in December 2019.
The ex-Wallaby fullback joined French rugby league side Catalan Dragons in January 2020, playing in the Super League.
Folau appears to be considering another cross-code signing, with French publication Midi Olympique claiming that at least three Top 14 clubs – Bayonne, Montpellier and Toulon – are interested in signing him for the 2021/22 season.
Folau’s records on the rugby pitch.
While signing Folau would certainly cause some controversy, it’s not hard to understand why teams are interested in adding him to their squad.
The ex-Australian international is Super Rugby’s leading try scorer of all time, scoring 60 tries for the Waratahs in just seven seasons with the Sydney-based club.
His try-scoring rate at international level is also very impressive, scoring 37 tries for the Wallabies in 73 games for his country. That tally puts him in fourth place in Australia’s all-time try-scoring leaderboard.
Folau started his professional sports career with rugby league side Melbourne Storm in 2007. He was just 17 years old when he made his debut in the National Rugby League.
The 31-year old also had a brief spell as an Aussie Rules player, playing for Greater Western Sydney in the AFL.