Israel Folau's former Wallabies teammate in explosive 'gag' claim

Wallabies star Samu Kerevi (pictured left) warming-up and (pictured right) Israel Folau leaving court.
Wallabies star Samu Kerevi (pictured left) has alleged Christian players who agreed with Israel Folau (pictured right) were told to stay silent to the media after he was sacked by Rugby Union Australia. (Getty Images)

Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi has claimed Christian players were told to stay silent following the Israel Folau social media scandal that saw him sacked from the national team.

Folau was famously sacked by RA in 2019 for saying that "hell awaits" gay people and others he considers sinners in a post on social media that can still be seen on his Instagram account and has been liked almost 75,000 times.

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Folau took RA to court for unfair dismissal, demanding $14 million in compensation under employment legislation that bans sacking someone because of their religious beliefs.

The case was settled out of court with RA reported to have paid Folau $4 million and the player claiming he had been "vindicated".

Folau has remained relatively silent since the case and moved to the UK to play for Super League team Catalans Dragons.

He has since linked up with Japanese rugby club Urayasu D-Rocks.

However, with the release of a two-part ABC documentary coming out on the saga that dominated headlines for months, a teammate has now broken his silence.

Wallabies centre Kerevi was one of a number of athletes to 'like' Folau's post at the time.

And Kerevi has alleged media teams told Christian players who agreed with Folau's stance that they should not talk to the media in the fallout.

“We got told from our media teams not to say anything about supporting Izzy or saying anything at all,” he said, according to News.com.au.

Wallabies rugby player Samu Kerevi (pictured left) was one of the athletes that 'liked' Israel Folau's (pictured right) post before he was sacked by Rugby Australia. (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)
Wallabies rugby player Samu Kerevi (pictured left) was one of the athletes that 'liked' Israel Folau's (pictured right) post before he was sacked by Rugby Australia. (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

“But after those coming days it was everyone that didn’t support him was all over the news. They were to be interviewed. They were allowed to say that they don’t support the message.”

Rugby Australia has denied silencing players from the start of the saga.

Former Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle, who was in charge during the case, claimed players were given an opportunity to express their views.

“I felt we engaged as widely as possible on what was a very difficult issue and (the players) were given opportunities to speak both privately and publicly," she told reporters in 2020.

Kerevi also took aim at the allegedly 'double standards' within Rugby Australia after Folau was sacked for the social media post.

“If someone does domestic violence and he’s OK to play, but someone that’s posted something that was in the Bible, no, let’s not play on,” he said.

Samu Kerevi weighs-in on Many Pride jersey saga

One of the biggest talking points coming out of the NRL this year was the Manly Pride saga controversy.

Seven Manly players boycotted their mid-season game against the Sydney Roosters in protest at wearing a pride-themed rainbow-coloured jersey, citing their religious and cultural beliefs.

The Wallabies also recently wore a rainbow coloured logo to show support for the LGBTIQ+ community.

However, Kerevi claimed this decision - without consulting the players - also caused frustration within the team.

“No one came up to us and asked us if we support it,” Kerevi said.

Israel Folau (pictured) after scoring a try.
Israel Folau (pictured) controversially had his Rugby Australia contract terminated, which he challenged in court. (Getty Images)

“You know, no one asked us our opinion on it. They just said, you know, Rugby Australia supports gay marriage.”

Speaking about the saga back in March, Folau remained philosophical about the drama that unfolded.

"I have no regrets about anything but it's led me here to Japan and I'm grateful for the opportunity," Folau said upon his rugby union return in Japan.

"I'm just stoked to be playing rugby again. It's a different experience to what I'm used to back in Australia but it's something that I'm really enjoying."

with AAP

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