Wallabies coach Michael Cheika made a surprise appearance as Israel Folau’s code of conduct hearing began at Rugby Australia’s Sydney headquarters on Saturday.
Folau was stood down by Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Rugby Union on 12 April. He was served a notice of termination following his latest controversial social media posts in which he targeted ‘drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators’ and warned: ‘Hell awaits you’.
His employers deemed Folau’s actions as a high-level code of conduct breach. The 30-year-old was given 48 hours to accept the sanction or have the matter referred to a code of conduct hearing, which he ultimately opted for.
Folau arrived at the headquarters half-an-hour before the hearing was scheduled to begin on Saturday. Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, who vowed never to select Folau again, also made an appearance at the hearing.
NSW Rugby boss Andrew Hore and RA CEO Raelene Castle arrive for Folau hearing. They came in the front door, Israel did not pic.twitter.com/YGqMidTUlm
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According to local reports, it is highly unlikely that an outcome will be announced this weekend, while Sunday has also been set aside to hear more evidence, if needed, in a hearing that has rocked the world rugby community.
The Daily Telegraph further reports that should Folau be successful in his appeal, Rugby Australia could face losses of up of to 12 million Australian dollars, putting the governing body on the brink of financial ruin.
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Photo: EPA/Paul Braven