Israel Folau to face widespread protests upon Super League arrival as Wakefield join Wigan in speaking out
29th January 2020
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Catalans Dragons’ controversial signing Israel Folau can expect to face protests on his first visit to England.

The 30-year-old dual-code international, who has not played since being sacked by Rugby Australia last May for making homophobic comments on social media, joined the French Super League club on Tuesday.

The signing has caused a storm, with even Super League executive chairman Robert Elstone condemning the move, and Wigan responded by declaring their home game against the Catalans in March a ‘Pride Day’.

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Folau, who is expected to arrive in Perpignan later this week or early next week, will obviously sit out Saturday’s opening game of the season against Huddersfield but could make his first appearance for the Dragons in round two at Wakefield, who plan to follow Wigan’s lead.

Trinity chief executive Michael Carter revealed he was approached by fans wanting to bring flags to the game within minutes of Folau’s signing being announced and added: “We’ll have some news next week on something that will be encompassed within our round two game.”


Rugby in 2019 – in pictures





1/99 1. Saracens vs Sale – 4 Jan

2/99 2. Exeter vs Bristol – 5 Jan

3/99 3. Saracens vs Glasgow – 19 Jan

4/99 4. Ireland vs England – 2 Feb

5/99 5. England vs France – 10 Feb

6/99 6. Wales vs England – 23 Feb

7/99 7. Scotland vs Wales – 9 March

8/99 8. Wales vs Ireland – 16 March

9/99 9. England vs Scotland – 16 March

10/99 10. England Women vs Scotland Women – 16 March

11/99 11. Leinster vs Ulster – 30 March

12/99 12. Saracens vs Munster – 20 April

13/99 13. Saracens vs Leinster – 11 May

14/99 14. Saracens vs Exeter 1 June

15/99 15. England Women vs New Zealand Women 14 July

16/99 16. England Women vs New Zealand Women – 14 July

17/99 17. South Africa vs Australia – 20 July

18/99 18. New Zealand vs South Africa – 27 July

19/99 19. Australia vs New Zealand – 10 August

20/99 20. Argentina vs South Africa – 10 August

21/99 21. New Zealand vs Australia – 17 August

22/99 22. England vs Ireland – 24 August

23/99 23. RWC opening ceremony – 20 October

24/99 24. RWC Japan vs Russia – 20 September

25/99 25. RWC Japan-fans – 20 September

26/99 26. RWC Australia vs Fiji – 21 September

27/99 27. RWC New Zealand vs South Africa – 21 September

28/99 28. RWC Ireland vs Scotland – 21 September

29/99 29. RWC England vs Tonga – 22 September

30/99 30. RWC Wales vs Georgia – 23 September

31/99 31. RWC Fiji vs Uruguay – 25 September

32/99 32. RWC Fiji vs Uruguay – 25 September

33/99 33. RWC England vs USA – 26 September

34/99 34. RWC Japan vs Ireland – 28 September

35/99 35. RWC Japan vs Ireland – 28 September

36/99 36. RWC Australia vs Wales – 29 September

37/99 37. RWC Scotland vs Samoa – 30 September

38/99 38. RWC New Zealand vs Canada – 2 October

39/99 39. RWC England vs Argentina – 5 October

40/99 40. RWC England vs Argentina – 5 October

41/99 41. RWC Japan vs Samoa – 5 October

42/99 42. RWC New Zealand vs Namibia – 6 October

43/99 43. RWC France vs Tonga – 6 October

44/99 44. RWC Scotland vs Russia – 9 October

45/99 45. RWC Wales vs Fiji – 9 October

46/99 46. RWC Typhoon Hagibis – 10 October

47/99 47. RWC Typhoon Hagibis – 10 October

48/99 48. RWC Typhoon Hagibis – 10 October

49/99 49. RWC Japan vs Scotland – 13 October

50/99 50. RWC Japan vs Scotland – 13 October

51/99 51. RWC Japan vs Scotland – 13 October

52/99 52. RWC Japan vs Scotland – 13 October

53/99 53. RWC England vs Australia – 19 October

54/99 54. RWC England vs Australia – 19 October

55/99 55. RWC England vs Australia – 19 October

56/99 56. RWC New Zealand vs Ireland – 19 October

57/99 57. RWC New Zealand vs Ireland – 19 October

58/99 58. RWC Wales vs France – 20 October

59/99 59. RWC Wales vs France – 20 October

60/99 60. RWC Wales vs France – 20 October

61/99 61. RWC Japan vs South Africa – 20 October

62/99 62. RWC Japan vs South Africa – 20 October

63/99 63. RWC Japan vs South Africa -20 October

64/99 64. RWC England vs New Zealand – 26 October

65/99 65. RWC England vs New Zealand – 26 October

66/99 66. RWC England vs New Zealand – 26 October

67/99 67. RWC Wales vs South Africa – 27 October

68/99 68. RWC Wales vs South Africa – 27 October

69/99 69. RWC Wales vs South Africa – 27 October

70/99 70. RWC New Zealand vs Wales – 1 November

71/99 71. RWC England vs South Africa – 2 November

72/99 72. RWC England vs South Africa – 2 November

73/99 73. RWC England vs South Africa – 2 November

74/99 74. RWC England vs South Africa – 2 November

75/99 75. RWC England vs South Africa – 2 November

76/99 76. RWC England vs South Africa – 4 November

77/99 77. Michael Cheika

78/99 78. Steve Hansen

79/99 79. Ian Foster

80/99 80. Premiership begins – 18 October

81/99 81. Bristol vs Bath – 18 October

82/99 82. Saracens vs Northampton – 19 October

83/99 83. Bath vs Exeter – 25 October

84/99 84. Saracens scandal – 4 November

85/99 85. Dylan Hartley retires

86/99 86. Gloucester vs Toulouse – 15 November

87/99 87. Exeter vs La Rochelle – 16 November

88/99 88. Barbarians vs Fiji

89/99 89. Warren Gatland – 29 November

90/99 90. Wales vs Barbarians

91/99 91. Racing 92 vs Munster – 23 November

92/99 92. Saracens vs Munster

93/99 93. Northampton vs Leicester – 30 November

94/99 94. Doddie Weir – 15 December

95/99 95. Israel Folau

96/99 96. Leicester Tigers vs Bristol Bears – 21 December

97/99 97. Saracens vs Bristol Bears – 21 December

98/99 98. Bristol Bears vs Wasps

99/99 99. Harlequins vs Leicester Tigers

1/99 1. Saracens vs Sale – 4 Jan

2/99 2. Exeter vs Bristol – 5 Jan

3/99 3. Saracens vs Glasgow – 19 Jan

4/99 4. Ireland vs England – 2 Feb

5/99 5. England vs France – 10 Feb

6/99 6. Wales vs England – 23 Feb

7/99 7. Scotland vs Wales – 9 March

8/99 8. Wales vs Ireland – 16 March

9/99 9. England vs Scotland – 16 March

10/99 10. England Women vs Scotland Women – 16 March

11/99 11. Leinster vs Ulster – 30 March

12/99 12. Saracens vs Munster – 20 April

13/99 13. Saracens vs Leinster – 11 May

14/99 14. Saracens vs Exeter 1 June

15/99 15. England Women vs New Zealand Women 14 July

16/99 16. England Women vs New Zealand Women – 14 July

17/99 17. South Africa vs Australia – 20 July

18/99 18. New Zealand vs South Africa – 27 July

19/99 19. Australia vs New Zealand – 10 August

20/99 20. Argentina vs South Africa – 10 August

21/99 21. New Zealand vs Australia – 17 August

22/99 22. England vs Ireland – 24 August

23/99 23. RWC opening ceremony – 20 October

24/99 24. RWC Japan vs Russia – 20 September

25/99 25. RWC Japan-fans – 20 September

26/99 26. RWC Australia vs Fiji – 21 September

27/99 27. RWC New Zealand vs South Africa – 21 September

28/99 28. RWC Ireland vs Scotland – 21 September

29/99 29. RWC England vs Tonga – 22 September

30/99 30. RWC Wales vs Georgia – 23 September

31/99 31. RWC Fiji vs Uruguay – 25 September

32/99 32. RWC Fiji vs Uruguay – 25 September

33/99 33. RWC England vs USA – 26 September

34/99 34. RWC Japan vs Ireland – 28 September

35/99 35. RWC Japan vs Ireland – 28 September

36/99 36. RWC Australia vs Wales – 29 September

37/99 37. RWC Scotland vs Samoa – 30 September

38/99 38. RWC New Zealand vs Canada – 2 October

39/99 39. RWC England vs Argentina – 5 October

40/99 40. RWC England vs Argentina – 5 October

41/99 41. RWC Japan vs Samoa – 5 October

42/99 42. RWC New Zealand vs Namibia – 6 October

43/99 43. RWC France vs Tonga – 6 October

44/99 44. RWC Scotland vs Russia – 9 October

45/99 45. RWC Wales vs Fiji – 9 October

46/99 46. RWC Typhoon Hagibis – 10 October

47/99 47. RWC Typhoon Hagibis – 10 October

48/99 48. RWC Typhoon Hagibis – 10 October

49/99 49. RWC Japan vs Scotland – 13 October

50/99 50. RWC Japan vs Scotland – 13 October

51/99 51. RWC Japan vs Scotland – 13 October

52/99 52. RWC Japan vs Scotland – 13 October

53/99 53. RWC England vs Australia – 19 October

54/99 54. RWC England vs Australia – 19 October

55/99 55. RWC England vs Australia – 19 October

56/99 56. RWC New Zealand vs Ireland – 19 October

57/99 57. RWC New Zealand vs Ireland – 19 October

58/99 58. RWC Wales vs France – 20 October

59/99 59. RWC Wales vs France – 20 October

60/99 60. RWC Wales vs France – 20 October

61/99 61. RWC Japan vs South Africa – 20 October

62/99 62. RWC Japan vs South Africa – 20 October

63/99 63. RWC Japan vs South Africa -20 October

64/99 64. RWC England vs New Zealand – 26 October

65/99 65. RWC England vs New Zealand – 26 October

66/99 66. RWC England vs New Zealand – 26 October

67/99 67. RWC Wales vs South Africa – 27 October

68/99 68. RWC Wales vs South Africa – 27 October

69/99 69. RWC Wales vs South Africa – 27 October

70/99 70. RWC New Zealand vs Wales – 1 November

71/99 71. RWC England vs South Africa – 2 November

72/99 72. RWC England vs South Africa – 2 November

73/99 73. RWC England vs South Africa – 2 November

74/99 74. RWC England vs South Africa – 2 November

75/99 75. RWC England vs South Africa – 2 November

76/99 76. RWC England vs South Africa – 4 November

77/99 77. Michael Cheika

78/99 78. Steve Hansen

79/99 79. Ian Foster

80/99 80. Premiership begins – 18 October

81/99 81. Bristol vs Bath – 18 October

82/99 82. Saracens vs Northampton – 19 October

83/99 83. Bath vs Exeter – 25 October

84/99 84. Saracens scandal – 4 November

85/99 85. Dylan Hartley retires

86/99 86. Gloucester vs Toulouse – 15 November

87/99 87. Exeter vs La Rochelle – 16 November

88/99 88. Barbarians vs Fiji

89/99 89. Warren Gatland – 29 November

90/99 90. Wales vs Barbarians

91/99 91. Racing 92 vs Munster – 23 November

92/99 92. Saracens vs Munster

93/99 93. Northampton vs Leicester – 30 November

94/99 94. Doddie Weir – 15 December

95/99 95. Israel Folau

96/99 96. Leicester Tigers vs Bristol Bears – 21 December

97/99 97. Saracens vs Bristol Bears – 21 December

98/99 98. Bristol Bears vs Wasps

99/99 99. Harlequins vs Leicester Tigers

Folau, who said on social media that “hell awaits” gay people, played for Melbourne and Brisbane before switching codes but was told he would not be allowed to return to the NRL.

However, he was not officially banned and the Rugby Football League said it was powerless to prevent the player’s registration, saying the moral responsibility for deciding whether to sign a player sits with individual clubs.

Carter says he was not aware of any of the other Super League clubs being consulted on the matter and would have strongly argued against the move.

“I don’t believe he should have been allowed in,” he said. “Are we seen now as a safety net for anybody who has been kicked out of other competitions?

“I don’t think it is the sort of advert we should be putting out for our sport. The views he holds are abhorrent and to hide behind religious beliefs is wrong.

“This is a modern world and we’ve got to be accepting of people who may not share the same views.

“We’ve got to make the world a tolerant place and I don’t think there’s any tolerance in the views he holds.

“It would have been a straight ‘no’ from me but I can’t dictate what another club’s moral standards are and I can’t dictate policy at the RFL.

“I am a director of Super League but I have had no say on this matter whatsoever.”

Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan admits his club considered the possibility of signing the cross-code player.

“It did cross our mind but we made no approaches,” he told BBC Radio 5 live. “We had filled our salary cap – that’s the reality.”

Wigan’s players will wear rainbow socks and laces for the game against the Dragons in an act Lenagan insists is a positive move.

“We’ve shown we’re proud of our diversity and we’re taking positive action to show we want to be proud of our Pride Day,” said Lenagan, who has already spoken to both Catalans and Stonewall.

“It’s intended to be a positive enjoyment of inclusivity.”

The signing of Folau prompted a strong reaction from Halifax forward Keegan Hirst, the only openly gay player in professional rugby league.

“I’m shocked and disappointed at the signing of IzzyFolau,” Hirst said on Twitter. “Our great game is tasked with fighting against homophobia and standing up for the values it puts such high stock in.

“It shows none of the bravery, camaraderie or integrity rfl expects from its players, staff and fans.”

PA

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