'Little-known loophole': Israel Folau offered stunning World Cup lifeline

Toutai Kefu has reportedly made contact with Israel Folau about playing for Tonga at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the former Wallaby and current Tonga coach has spoken to the sacked star’s camp about switching allegiances.

It’s being reported that Folau’s brother John, who recently quit the NSW Waratahs in a show of allegiance to Israel, could be selected for Tonga for the 2019 World Cup.

But for Israel to play for Tonga in four years time, he’d have to sit out international rugby for three years and then qualify via an Olympic sevens tournament because he’s already represented Australia.

Israel Folau in action for the Wallabies. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

According to The Herald, it’s a “little-known loophole Folau could use to his advantage.”

“We’d love to have him … the next World Cup he’d be available for us hopefully.” Kefu told The Herald.

“It’s a long time away, so we’ll let the dust settle a bit after his most recent issues.”

However, the former Wallabies forward previously revealed there was a catch if Folau chose to represent his parents' homeland - he would have to do it for free.

"The Tonga Rugby Union has no money, we are 100 percent funded by World Rugby, he said.

"We cant afford to pay our players. So our players they play for pride of jersey, they play to representative their families, they play to go to a World Cup."

Toutai Kefu of Tonga.. (Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Another option?

It’s also previously been reported that Australian billionaire Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest could offer Folau a lifeline in Asia.

Last month the Daily Telegraph reported that Forrest, himself a committed Christian, could find a spot for Folau in his Global Rapid Rugby competition, which is set to kick off next year.

It said the competition was interested in making the fullback a marquee signing for either the Hong Kong-based South China Tigers or the Singapore-based Asia Pacific Dragons.

"Global Rapid Rugby has spoken to a number of talented international players and will continue to do so," a spokesman for the competition told AFP when asked about Folau.

"No contracts have been offered to any players."

He added that marquee players were likely to be a part of the competition.

Global Rapid Rugby, a fast-paced game with radical new rules, was set up by mining magnate Forrest after his beloved Western Force were cut from the Super Rugby competition in 2017.

with agencies