Israel Folau is expected to learn his fate today after being found guilty of a "high level" breach during a code of conduct hearing following his controversial Instagram post last month.

The Wallabies star quoted a Bible passage that said "hell waits" homosexuals unless they repent, sparking a storm that has plunged his rugby career into uncertainty.

Folau faces the prospect of having his four-year, $4 million contract with Rugby Australia torn up.

2pm: Former Wallaby compares Folau to Kaepernick


The Israel Folau social media furore has proved as divisive in Australia as Colin Kaepernick's stand against racism in the United States, according to former Wallaby Karmichael Hunt.

Folau, a fundamentalist Christian and 73-test Wallaby, is awaiting sanction after being found of a "high level" breach of Rugby Australia's code of conduct for posting on social media that hell awaits "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers" and others.

A three-member panel is expected to issue a sanction today after RA recommended his four-year contract be terminated.

While Folau's post sparked outrage from LGBTI groups, RA's handling of his case has angered conservative Christians and upset Wallabies players of Pacific island heritage who share the fullback's religious beliefs.

[Read more: Israel Folau to take Rugby Australia to the Supreme Court if his contract is terminated]

NFL quarterback Kaepernick sparked a national debate when he protested against racial injustice by kneeling during the U.S. national anthem, drawing the ire of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Hunt likened Folau's case to the Kaepernick saga in terms of the ferocity of the debate that has gripped the nation.

"This is definitely a first," Hunt, a team mate of Folau's at the New South Wales Waratahs, told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.


"It's a very complex issue, there's millennia involved and people's beliefs based on millennia. It's definitely something I haven't experienced and the sporting landscape hasn't experienced.

"The only thing that comes to mind is the Colin Kaepernick situation in the United States, which I wasn't intimately involved in but kept an eye on. It was a pretty polarising event.

"But in terms of the Australian landscape and what I've seen first hand, I haven't seen anything like this before."

More than a month has passed since Folau's offending social media post and over a week since the three-member panel issued its judgement of a "high level" breach.

The case has proved a constant distraction for the Waratahs, who have struggled without their star fullback.

"I'm sure for Izzy it's frustrating, it's frustrating for everyone involved," Hunt said.

"If I can selfishly say I wish it hadn't happened. But it has happened and this is the way processes play out and you've got no control over it."

Even after the panel issues its sanction, both Folau and RA can appeal if unsatisfied with the decision, meaning the saga could be set for another round of litigation.

Israel Folau is expected to learn his fate today. Photo / Getty
Israel Folau is expected to learn his fate today. Photo / Getty

11am: Folau: 'They make me feel like a murderer'

Alan Jones has continued his staunch defence of Israel Folau, slamming Rugby Australia for its "mindless prosecution" of the Wallabies superstar.

Jones has been vocal in his support of Folau since the scandal erupted and in an article for The Australian, said there's no way he should be sacked for simply exercising his right to free speech.

Jones took aim at RA boss Raelene Castle and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika for criticising Folau before his code of conduct hearing and revealed he has been in touch with the former NRL and AFL star, who feels he is being unjustly treated.

"While he is at peace with his god he says to me, simply and plaintively: 'They make me feel like a murderer'," Jones wrote.

10.45am: Court battle on the cards

Israel Folau will reportedly fight to save his rugby career by taking Rugby Australia to court if he is sacked.

The Daily Telegraph reports the 30-year-old will forgo an appeal if his contract is torn up and instead take the matter to the Supreme Court, such is his conviction that he is being wrongly persecuted for expressing his religious beliefs.

The report says a protracted legal battle could have serious financial ramifications for RA, costing the governing body millions of dollars that could send the game broke.

10.30am: Teammate making sure Folau is fine

Few people know what's going through Israel Folau's mind. But if anyone can imagine what the isolation feels like, it's Karmichael Hunt.

In vastly different circumstances to Folau's, Hunt also found himself frozen out from his Super Rugby team last year when at the Queensland Reds before being handed a career lifeline at the NSW Waratahs.

"You rely on your family, your friends, your teammates," Hunt said on Thursday. Hence Hunt has been in contact with Folau, while also checking on the Wallabies star through Folau's younger brother John, who remains at the Waratahs.

It's over a month since Folau was stood down by Rugby Australia over his controversial social media posts and the wait continues to learn if he'll be sacked after being found to have committed a high-level code of conduct breach.

"As a collective here at the Waratahs, I know from speaking to the guys, we're holding up our end of the bargain and we're making sure that he's doing OK away from footy in the position he's in now," Hunt said.

"I know his family — I was speaking to Johnny this morning — they're doing as much as they can for Izzy as well.

"That's all you can do in situations like this when there's a process that has to be taken and a decision has to be handed down.

"All you can do is support and I have been in contact. Regardless of the situation, he's still our friend, he's still our teammate and he's someone that we care about.

"So I've just been checking in on him and making sure that he's doing OK and that his head space is doing okay and, from what I'm getting from him, he seems fine, which is a pleasing thing."

Hunt admitted the most divisive issue in Australian sport was fascinating, if also a great shame.

"This is definitely a first," he said. "It's a very complex issue … it's definitely something I haven't experienced and I don't think the sporting landscape hasn't experienced.

"The only thing that comes to mind is the Colin Kaepernick situation over in the States, which I wasn't intimately involved in but I was keeping an eye on it and it was a pretty polarising event."

Israel Folau. Photo / AP
Israel Folau. Photo / AP

10.15am: AFL boss' warning amid Folau saga

Formerly a "respectful and humble" poster boy for AFL's expansion into western Sydney, Israel Folau has become a cautionary tale and case study in crisis management for everyone in the league.

GWS headhunted Folau, who at that point was a household name in NSW because of his NRL superstardom, when they became the AFL's 18th franchise. The million-dollar Folau experiment lasted just 13 games, ending when the code-hopper left the Giants following their inaugural season in 2012.

Folau quickly became a marketing weapon and matchwinning fullback for Rugby Australia but is now believed to be on the cusp of being fired for his anti-gay outburst on social media.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan and club counterparts, including Giants boss Dave Matthews, discussed the protracted Folau saga behind closed doors this week.

"It was more a case of saying how clear in our game are we on the expectations that an employee has," Matthews told reporters on Thursday.

"Clearly it's something that any employee needs to be careful about, in terms of what their personal beliefs are compared to the beliefs or the values of the organisation."

Religion has always been a major part of Folau's life, including his brief AFL career. However, if the 30-year-old harboured the same views about homosexuality at the time then he was far more reserved about it.

"When Israel was at the Giants he didn't pose any problems to us whatsoever, we found him to be a very respectful, humble young man," Matthews said. "But clearly some of the things he's put out in the public domain are things that wouldn't fit with the values of the Giants.

"You're never really sure what beliefs people within your organisation hold.

"Some of those things only become apparent when people are prepared to be public about it."