Israel Folau set for international return with Tonga

Israel Folau set for international return with Tonga

Folau scored 37 tries for Australia

Israel Folau is set to return to international rugby with Tonga three years after having his contract with Australia terminated.

The 33-year-old, a fundamentalist Christian, won 73 caps for Australia but had his contract terminated in 2019 after posting a homophobic tweet.

World Rugby changed its rules last year to let players switch country once.

Tonga have picked Folau – a centre and winger – for the Pacific Nations Cup and a World Cup play-off in July.

The change in World Rugby rules meant that from January 2022 a player could represent a different country after a stand-down period of three years and move to a nation of their, their parents’ or grandparents’ birth.

Folau has also played rugby league and Australian rules football.

He had a spell at rugby league side Catalan Dragons but was released from his contract in June 2021.

Folau returned to rugby union when he joined Japanese Top League side Shining Arcs last year.

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