Folau factor: The truth is finally revealed
Veteran Test prop Sekope Kepu said Rugby Australia’s handling of the Israel Folau saga destroyed the Wallabies’ World Cup hopes.
In response, the chief protagonist Raelene Castle, the RA CEO, said she is comfortable with the handling of the saga.
An explosive new report in The Daily Telegraph claims court documents show a key player boycotted a pre-tournament camp to protest Castle’s handling of the Folau saga.
Kepu and a fellow Wallaby, centre Samu Kerevi, filed affidavits in November supporting Folau’s legal case against RA, which was settled out of court in December.
Folau was sacked after posting on Instagram that hell awaits sinners.
AAP report that the News Corp-owned Telegraph obtained the documents that show 110-Test forward Kepu was “disappointed” in how the governing body managed the situation.
The veteran says he boycotted a pre-World Cup Wallabies camp because he thought his support of Folau would cause division in the lead-up to the tournament – at which Australia crashed out at the quarterfinal stage.
“I did not attend the camp. This was because I was so upset about the way in which management had handled Israel’s situation that I didn’t think it would be a good thing for me to attend,” Kepu wrote.
He said as a Christian he felt marginalised by both RA and the Waratahs and was pulled from a Super Rugby media opportunity due to fears he might speak in Folau’s favour.
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Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him. _______________ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these , adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 KJV _______________ Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38 KJV _______________ And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30 KJV _______________
Castle said players weren’t gagged from speaking out in support of Folau.
“We’re very comfortable with the way that we dealt with things,” she said.
“We gave all players an opportunity to step up and express their views.
“I felt we engaged as widely as possible on what was a very difficult issue and they were given opportunities to speak both privately and publicly.”
Among the allegations tabled, Kepu said that prayer groups had stopped since Folau’s axing.
Castle denied RA’s involvement in stopping such gatherings.
“I’m so insulted that people think that would be acceptable behaviour for Rugby Australia,” Castle told reporters at a Business of Rugby breakfast in Sydney on Wednesday.
“I’m on public record saying I’m proud of the fact that Israel was a strong Christian man and was proud of his faith and expressed it as such.
“But he made a comment that was insulting.”
Castle said players could have their own beliefs as long as they acted within code of conduct expectations.
“As long as what you’re doing to express your own views inside those environments, that’s what being a player inside the Wallaby program is all about,” Castle said.
According to the Telegraph Kepu wrote: “My perception was that the media was briefed to approach people who would toe the ‘anti-Israel’ line and were discouraged from approaching potential Israel’s supporters [including Christian players].
“The Wallabies’ next camp after Israel’s posts in April 2019 was around July 2019, before our Rugby Championship matches that year. I did not attend the camp.
“This was because I was so upset about the way in which management had handled Israel’s situation that I didn’t think it would be a good thing for me to attend.”
Kerevi was disgusted his employers had targeted Folau for his religious beliefs, when other breaches of the Code of Conduct policy had been given no more than a slap on the hand.
“I found that very difficult to square up with the way others had been treated,” Kerevi stated.
“All this made it difficult for me to counsel the more junior players in the locker-room. At the time, I wanted to support Israel publicly.
“I couldn’t, because the players (including me) were told by management not to comment on the issue.”
* Additional reporting by The Daily Telegraph