Maria Folau has offered fans a rare insight into her private life after discussing her quarantine situation with husband Israel, in southern France.
The New Zealand netball great insists the couple are enjoying the restrictions of a coronavirus lockdown in France and the unexpected crowded house that has come with it.
The retired Silver Ferns shooter and her Aussie cross-code superstar husband have been consigned to their Perpignan home for more than a month and are bracing for that situation to continue.
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The lockdown began in early March, three games into the former Wallabies fullback's Super League contract with French club the Catalan Dragons.
In a rare interview, Maria said the enforced break had given the pair a chance to take stock and appreciate each other after many years pursuing their sporting careers, often apart.
Israel had been handed a sporting lifeline by Catalans after his Rugby Australia contract was terminated last year following the pubic airing of his homophobic religious beliefs.
Maria chose to withdraw from the limelight over the past two years because of the public furore surrounding her husband, who last December reached a court settlement with RA after challenging his ban.
Her subsequent retirement from netball was announced in a short press release that didn't do justice to her 150-Test status, having played a key role in New Zealand's World Cup triumph months earlier.
Maria, 33, broke her silence in an interview on a Netball NZ social media channel.
While she didn't mention the issues surrounding her husband, she admitted the lockdown had its benefits after "14 years on the run" with netball.
"I haven't had so much time to breathe, be still and really reflect on everything really," she said.
"Izzy and I never get this much time together. It's been really awesome for us to just do nothing and annoy the heck out of each other because that's what married couples do.
"France has been really cool to us, to be completely honest, it's been really fun and we've been enjoying this opportunity here."
The household has swelled by three for the lockdown, which will continue in France until at least May 11.
Maria's brother, Bordeaux-based professional rugby player Masalosalo Tutaia, was visiting at the time a strict lockdown was announced, along with his fiancee and son.
They couldn't return home in time so stayed in southern France, providing company and entertainment.
Maria said she had no thoughts of playing netball again, saying the World Cup final win over Australia in Liverpool last July gave her a sense of fulfilment.
Reports of NRL interest in Folau hosed down
While the pair seem content with their life in France, reports have emerged that NRL clubs could be interested in tempting Israel Folau back to Australia.
However, South Sydney CEO Blake Solly has dismissed speculation NRL clubs will attempt to sign overseas-based sidelined stars on short-term deals, saying it is "not grounded in reality".
With the UK Super League suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus, Folau as well as Toronto's Sonny Bill Williams, Wigan's Jackson Hastings and Warrington's Blake Austin were reportedly in NRL clubs' sights ahead of the Australian competition's proposed May 28 resumption.
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Rugby stars Quade Cooper and Ben Te'o had also been tossed up as targets with the code in limbo due to the pandemic.
While Solly likes the idea of luring big names to the NRL on short-term deals, he can't see it happening.
“I don't want to burst anyone's balloon, but I don't think it's realistic,” Solly told UK Sky Sports.
“Most clubs have filled out their squad of 30 or got 29 players.
“If you think every one of those players is going to be fit and ready to play at the end of May, given the break we've had, it's hard to see how you'd fit another player in at the expense of someone contracted.
“On top of the squads of 30, each player has between three and six development players you'd call into the squad, so given the contract regulations and the financial implications of bringing in a guest like that, it would seem like it's a nice news story but not grounded in reality.”
with Yahoo Sport staff