Folau furore 'not going to be an issue' for Wallabies

Rob Forsaith

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika insists Israel Folau's views on homosexuality won't be a distraction during the Test series against Ireland next month.

Folau posted on social media earlier this year that God's plan for gay people was hell if they didn't repent, igniting a public firestorm that forced Rugby Australia (RA) into damage control.

The situation reached somewhat of a detente after Folau met with RA chief executive Raelene Castle, although the divisive superstar later tweeted a link of a sermon warning against tolerating same-sex marriage.

Ensuing commentary has kept Folau in the headlines since, much to Cheika's consternation.

Cheika, who will next week name a squad for Australia's three-Test series against Ireland that starts in Brisbane on June 9, has spoken with Folau about the situation.

"He does understand it (the potential for his views to be a distraction), yeah, but what's more important is that he doesn't want to create that," Cheika told reporters.

"He wants to play the footy he's been playing the last few weeks, which has been awesome.

"I don't believe it's going to be an ongoing issue."

Gareth Thomas, who won 100 international caps for Wales and came out publicly as gay in 2009, recently suggested Folau had put "a lot of people in awkward situations ... Cheika is having to almost distance himself from a player".

Cheika was cagey and cryptic on Wednesday in response to a series of questions about Folau.

Folau's anti-gay views have created plenty of negative headlines. Pic: Getty

"It's not going to be an issue, because it's not going to be ongoing. You can interpret it how you like," he said.

"He's definitely going to post stuff (on social media), isn't that what that is for?

"But the right stuff, stuff he believes in.

"Maybe not everything I'm saying is for other people's sanctification, it's for me as the coach to get clarity on what is going to be happening inside the team environment.

"That's where it is at and that's where we will leave it, go on with the footy."

Cheika is mulling a series of questions about his squad and indeed the XV that will face Ireland, most notably who will be at hooker in the absence of rested veteran Tatafu Polota-Nau.

"There's four young hookers around the scene that we're looking at, possibly even a fifth," he said.

Cheika is confident Will Genia (knee) will be fit for the Suncorp Stadium showdown with world No.2 Ireland.

"Whether he can get himself back for a game beforehand with the Rebels, that's what we are pushing for ... but if he can't, there won't be any doubt about him being ready for the first Test," he said.