All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has spoken out over Wallabies star Israel Folau having his contract torn up by Rugby Australia.

Folau had his four-year $4 million dollar contract terminated by Rugby Australia last week, with an independent three-person panel ruling that his Instagram post that hit out against gay and transgender people.

Hansen said that the incident showed why it's important for athletes to be sensible on social media.

"You've got to be aware of what you're doing on social media because it's a pretty big platform and you've got to be sensible about it. People can have their own beliefs, there's nothing wrong with that, as long as it's not damaging the beliefs of the team or the organisation that you work for."


Folau's absence could be a hammer blow for the Wallabies, with the fullback having been a key player for Michael Cheika's side over the past few years.

Hansen today argued that it will change the Wallabies.

"They [Wallabies] will be different because he's such a great player and it's disappointing for Australia that this whole thing has happened. But it has and they'll want to move on from that and the rest of us have to move on, too."

Folau has been Australia's fullback in 63 of the 92 Tests that have taken place since he first made his debut in 2013.

He is now also the highest try scorer in Super Rugby history with 60, breaking Doug Howlett's long-held record in what has turned out to be Folau's final game of Super Rugby. Only David Campese and Chris Latham have scored more tries for Australia than Folau's 37.

Cheika last year used Dane Haylett-Petty throughout the Rugby Championship and against Wales in the autumn, with the Melbourne Rebels back seeming to be the best option.

Other candidates include Haylett-Petty's teammate at the Rebels, Reece Hodge, and in-form Brumbies fullback Tom Banks.

Kurtley Beale could also revert to fullback, where he has not started a Test for Australia since the 2017 defeat at Murrayfield against Scotland.


Hansen expects whoever the Wallabies pick as Folau's replacement will still be a good option.

"When you play test matches you want to play against the best. They've got some quality players that play fullback."

- Additional information Daily Telegraph UK