Dragons release Folau for 'personal family situation' in Australia

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Dual-code international Israel Folau
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Dual-code international Israel Folau, who was sacked by Rugby Australia in 2019 for saying "hell awaits" gay people and others he considers sinners, has been released by Catalans Dragons "with immediate effect", the French rugby league club announced Monday.

Folau arrived at the Dragons in 2020 and had signed a one-year contract extension for 2021.

But the 32-year-old informed the club he wanted to stay in Australia for what the Dragons said was "a personal family situation", and also play for small-town club Southport Tigers alongside his two brothers.

Dragons chairman Bernard Guasch said Folau had been "great with us in 2020 both on and off the field and we wanted to facilitate the negotiations to reach an agreement".

"He told us his desire to play alongside his two brothers and we didn't want to prevent him. We wish him all the best in the next chapter of his career."

Folau was a star NRL player early in his career, then switched to rugby union after an unsuccessful stint playing Australian Rules.

He scored 37 tries in 73 rugby union Tests for the Wallabies before being dumped, then returned to league in February last year with the Dragons.

Rugby Australia's sacking of Folau in 2019 sparked a long-running legal dispute that was eventually settled when they made a multi-million dollar out-of-court payment.

In his latest battle, Folau this month applied for a Supreme Court injunction against Queensland Rugby League (QRL) in a bid to resume his career in Australia, claiming its refusal to register him amounted to a restraint of trade.

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