Israel Folau could be set for a stunning return to international rugby union due to a change in eligibility rules – and he has spoken about it for the first time.
Remember, the former Catalans Dragons star had been sacked and banned by Rugby Australia for a series of homophobic posts on social media back in 2019, which paved the way for Folau to return to rugby league.
He took a chance in the south of France with the Dragons, but played just one season before returning home to Australia to play with his brothers at the Southport Tigers in the local Gold Coast leagues.
Folau has also been rumoured to be assessing whether or not to take an active role in politics with close friend and Southport Tigers owner Clive Palmer a member of the United Australia Party.
Now, though, World Rugby has changed its eligibility rules meaning that, from January 2022, a player can represent another country following three years of not playing.
Wallaby great Toutai Kefu revealed that he has spoken to Folau about the possibility of him representing Tonga and he was keen.
“We’re not in a position to bypass players of Israel’s calibre. We’d welcome him with open arms,” the Tonga coach told The Roar.
“I explained to him where we were at in terms of what’s happening with this revisiting of this new eligibility rule. He totally understands it. I said, ‘If they overturned this straight away, you could be available for us next year’.
“He said, ‘Yeah, I’m keen to go’.”
It’s a massive change of scenery for the ex-Super League star who spent just one season in Super League.