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Wallabies World Cup hopes now on Folau’s ‘plane to Hell’: Jeremy Paul

In the aftermath of Rugby Australia announcing their intention to sack fundamentalist Christian fullback Israel Folau, former Wallaby Jeremy Paul recalls a simpler time for athletes.

“It seems so much simpler back in our day, there was no social media, no comments to make, no platforms to get into trouble,” Paul tells Levy and Riddell.

“I’ll go on the record here to stick up for Israel Folau as a person, he is such a lovely guy but his comments and what he has done is wrong and I don’t think he understands this.”

“He’s the highest try scoring player in Super Rugby history, and now his contract is gone.”

Multi-million dollar contracts aren’t limited to the 80 minutes spent on the field. Players are ambassadors for the sport and for the brands whose sponsorship pay for these contracts in the first place. Paul believes Israel Folau fails to understand this.

“Once you sign a professional contact, whether it be in business or whether it be in sport, you have to make sure you apply yourself to the rules of that organisation,” he said.

“What Israel has gone and done is he’s gone and jeopardized the financial position that Rugby Australia are in. They’re now renegotiating contracts with Land Rover, with Qantas, all these major companies that potentially might not want to re-sign because of comments from the biggest star in the game,

“We’re not just talking about anyone, we’re talking about one of the biggest stars in Rugby Union.

“He’s got himself into a lot of trouble here, I don’t think he realizes the ramifications of what he was doing.”

With the Rugby World Cup scheduled for September, Paul says Folau’s absence means the Wallabies chances are now, fittingly, “on the same plane to Hell.”

“Folau is a phenomenal athlete, and I think I’ve said this before but I was fortunate enough to play with Matty Rogers, Lote Tuqiri and Wendell Sailor and they were worth every penny when they came over but I reckon you put those three together and you’ve got Israel Folau.”

“Incredibly disappointing for our World Cup chances, we were already struggling but now we’ve pretty much put a nail in our coffin.

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