If only Australia's Super Rugby teams were as hard to shut down as the scandals that incessantly blight the game across the Tasman. This latest incident with Israel Folau and his insistence he has the right to express his personal views regardless of content appears increasingly likely to end in disaster.

Either he's going to end up quitting his contract or new boss of the Australian Rugby Union Raelene Castle is going to be a short-lived appointment. More likely is that both happen - that Folau signs with a European or Japanese club and Castle's position becomes instantly untenable when she is blamed for the Wallabies losing their best player a year out from the World Cup.

Folau has done four things since he met with Castle last week to clear the air after he wrote, in a social media post, that unless gay people relent their sins they will be condemned to an afterlife in Hell and eternal damnation.

The first thing he's done is make sure everyone knows he's not sorry; the second is that he doesn't feel he's done anything wrong; the third is that he has warned that he is incapable of being anything other than true to himself and his beliefs and the fourth is that his faith is more important than his career.


And by doing so, he's actually made five things clear - which is that this business has not been put to bed and will no doubt rumble along for a period yet before it most likely explodes when he says something hateful again.

The impression he has given is that he's willing to sacrifice being a Wallaby to speak his mind and if something pops up on his radar that offends his religious sensibilities, he's not going to turn the other cheek.

Why would he when he's managed to express worryingly homophobic views and avoid censure on the basis the ARU, as they have confirmed in a written statement, have accepted his justification that he didn't mean to offend anyone? This would have to be a new low in rugby's supposed attempt to recast itself as an inclusive and diverse sport.

Folau has been granted immunity to prosecution on the grounds the ARU have ruled homophobia is acceptable when it is expressed as part of devout Christian beliefs. It's an astonishingly weak response which illustrates just how much the ARU want this business to end with Folau committed to seeing out his contract and willing to signing another and with the wider Australian public satisfied that the matter was dealt with sensitively and appropriately.

But it is not going to go away and probably the ARU are going to have to accept that with Folau unrepentant, he isn't ever going to accept he doesn't have the right to say what he feels like and not be disciplined for it.

Which makes Folau a certainty to re-offend and when he does the ARU can't grant him immunity a second time on the same basis? The didn't mean to offend argument is a one-time only defence and the ARU are going to have to stand up to Folau and discipline him, which will inevitably risk him either walking out on his contract immediately, no doubt citing persecution or not signing an extension when it finishes this year.

Either way, he'll be lost to the ARU and Castle will be in the firing line as her first significant act in the role will be to preside over the loss of the country's best player.
The alternative is they continue to back off and then face the real prospect that the public will see the national body is willing to tolerate extreme views if the player that espouses them is really important to the Wallabies.

Australian rugby, it seems, can't stop stumbling from one crises to the next and just as some of the worst scarring caused by the axing of the Western Force is starting to heal, Folau has plunged the game back to the brink of disaster.