Silver Ferns netballer Maria Folau is publicly standing by her husband Israel, as the disgraced former Wallabies fullback started his legal battle for what he calls "unfair dismissal" against Rugby Australia.

The sacked test star and his wife were photographed on their way to the Federal Court in Melbourne on Monday for a mediation meeting over his $14 million compensation claim against RA.

Wearing a red power suit, Maria Folau stayed by her husband's side as they met - and prayed with - supporters outside court.

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The Folaus were seen laughing and greeting some of their fans, at least one of whom could be seen holding up a sign saying, "Pray for Izzy & Raelene' referring to RA's Kiwi-born CEO Raelene Castle.

Israel and Maria Folau. Photo / News Corp Australia
Israel and Maria Folau. Photo / News Corp Australia

Maria Folau has not made any public statements in support of Israel, but she has been spotted by his side on a number of occasions since he was sacked.

In June, Israel claimed she had been the victim of "sustained cyberattack", and said there had been a deliberate attempt to vilify her for supporting him.

"While Israel does not intend to respond in detail at this time regarding the accusations thrown at him or his family, he wants it known that these attacks have hardened his resolve," Folau said in a statement after GoFundMe's decision to remove his crowdfunding campaign from its website.

"Thankfully, several organisations have already expressed interest in supporting Israel's efforts to raise money for his ongoing legal case"

Folau claims he was wrongfully dismissed by Rugby Australia and Rugby NSW after a controversial Instagram post in April condemning "drunks" and "homosexuals" and warning "hell awaits" them.

While he has said he wants "the truth" to be upheld in his mediation talks, RA insists it did the right thing sacking him.

"Israel admitted he had caused harm with his comments and stated that he would not curb his social media use and will post whatever he likes whenever he feels the need to share his views," Castle told reporters outside court on Monday.


The former rugby league and AFL player last week increased his compensation claim from $10 million to $14 million, and said the Wallabies would have done better in the 2019 Rugby World Cup if he was playing.

Maria Folau enjoying the support on show for her husband. Photo / News Corp Australia
Maria Folau enjoying the support on show for her husband. Photo / News Corp Australia

"I understand that not everyone shares my faith and some find it difficult to reconcile with their own beliefs," Folau said in a video posted on his website before the meeting.

"I want to be clear that I only share passages from the Bible as a gesture of love.

"We pray that we might all find redemption and peace in the words of the Lord Jesus Christ as we head to today's mediation, we also ask that he watches over us, so that both parties might realise the courage to uphold the truth."

But Castle said she had been sent messages and emails from the rugby community supporting the decision to sack Folau.

"It is these messages from members of our community and the wider sports community that leaves us in no doubt that we are doing what's right," she said.

"Israel's commentary subsequent to his termination has only reinforced this belief," she told reporters outside court in Melbourne."

Israel Folau joined in prayer with supporters at Federal court in Melbourne. Photo / News Corp Australia
Israel Folau joined in prayer with supporters at Federal court in Melbourne. Photo / News Corp Australia

Castle said a tribunal found Folau had committed a high level breach of his contract and he had refused to curb his social media use.

"Rugby Australia is confident in its legal position but we come here today with a genuine desire to find a settlement that is sensible and reasonable so that we can return all our focus and resources to growing the game of rugby across Australia," she said.

A small group of supporters greeted Folau upon his arrival to court, some holding signs with messages indicating they were on his side. Folau formed a circle and said a prayer with some of his backers.

Folau is a hardline Christian who also recently claimed fatal bushfires were God's punishment for legalising abortion and same-sex marriage, sparking criticism from Prime Minister Scott Morrison.