'Never say never': Door remains open for Israel Folau's return to rugby

Chris Young
Sports Reporter

You wouldn’t want to put money on it, but Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle has left the door open for Israel Folau to return to Australian rugby.

Speaking to reporters the day after settling the long-running dispute between the code and its disgruntled and ousted star, Castle said anything could happen when it came to Folau’s future.

In the same breath though, Castle reiterated any reunion was extremely unlikely, given both sides remained poles apart when it came to the expectations they had for their players.

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“At the end of the day, his contract has ben terminated,” Castle told reporters on Thursday morning.

“It’s clear to see our values are not aligned and the expectations that Rugby Australia would have of Israel coming back into the sport, would not be acceptable to him.

Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle says 'never say never' to a potential Israel Folau return, but says it would be extremely unlikely either side would consider it. (Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images)

“Never, say never, it’d be crazy for me to say that.

“What I’m saying is we have a value disalignment and at the end of the day I don’t believe he would sign the current player contract which means he would have to be respectful with his social media use.”

Castle disputes ‘wildly inaccurate’ reports on settlement figure

Castle took to Twitter and said the numbers thrown around in the media were “wildly inaccurate” and that the agreement between the two parties remained confidential.

“Folau settlement numbers are confidential but numbers being speculated are wildly inaccurate,” Castle wrote on Twitter.

Addressing media at RA HQ on Thursday, Castle said the national body was covered by insurance but couldn't discuss to what extent.

"The terms are confidential but what you do try and find is situation that gives RA some certainty and this settlement gives us that and also ensured that cost to RA was less than seeing a trial through to the end of February," Castle said.

"We didn't back down - we needed to give the game some certainty."

Castle said the organisation made the right call in sacking Folau in April for his religiously-motivated but inflammatory anti-gay social media posts.

"We made the right decision in calling out Israel on his posts and inappropriate messaging, that remains the same.