Israel Folau has been registered as a player to play for Tonga in an end-of-season rugby league Test.
The former Australian rugby union star, who is embroiled in a legal battle with Rugby Australia after his multi-million dollar contract was terminated in May, announced his intention to play for the Pacific nation in a media statement.
Folau claims to have been given the green light to play for Tonga in an end-of-season Test against Australian Kangaroos by the Rugby League International Federation.
‘I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to represent God, my family, my heritage and the people of Tonga,’ Folau said. ‘I am thankful that the RLIF have accepted my availability to play.
‘I don’t want to bring any of my personal matters into this and I am grateful that the RLIF have endorsed my availability. What I will do now is focus on playing great rugby league and do my talking on the field.’
However, multiple sources told the Sydney Morning Herald RLIF had no idea of Folau’s intention to make a rugby league comeback until told of the media release. RLIF deputy chairman Peter Beattie also confirmed Folau had not been given clearance to play for Tonga.
‘The RLIF board have made no decisions in relation to any registration request for Israel Folau. As a current member of the RLIF board, and as the ARLC rep, I can assure you that this has never been discussed or mentioned around the board table.’
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