Axed Wallabies star Israel Folau could still have his sights set on the Rugby World Cup if he had avoided using two words in the controversial social media post that led to his contract being terminated by Rugby Australia.
The Daily Telegraph reports that if Folau has just posted a Bible quote instead of a controversial meme, it would have been much harder for Rugby Australia to call an end to his $5m plus contact.
In April, Folau shared a post on Instagram which said: "WARNING Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolaters HELL AWAITS YOU Repent! Only Jesus Saves".
Corinthians 6: 9-10, meanwhile says: "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God".
Note the difference?
"Everyone has missed the key here, have a look at the post, it says 'Warning' and 'Hell', but the Bible verse does not mention either word," a source said the Daily Telegraph.
"Izzy was getting told he'd go to hell if he took down the post, but if he had removed that image and re-posted word for word what the verse says, they couldn't have sacked him."
The Daily Telegraph also reports that six of Rugby Australia's sponsors were told of an intention to sack the test star before he was told anything.
All six sponsors, Qantas, Vodafone, Land Rover, ASICS, Accenture and HSBC, indicated they would discontinue their relationship with Rugby Australia if Folau was either not sacked or at least apologised and ensured he'd never do it again.
The 30-year-old rugby star and his team are still considering their next steps, and one of them could include challenging Rugby Australia in the Supreme Court over his high-level breach of contract.
Another option could be taking up the case with the Fair Work Commission by lodging a complaint for unlawful dismissal on religious grounds. He will have until June 10 to begin that process.
Folau decided not to appeal through Rugby Australia's internal channels, saying that he feared he would receive unfair treatment during the process.
"My decision not to commence Rugby Australia's appeal process is in no way an acceptance of the judicial panel's findings," Folau said in a statement on last month.
"I simply do not have confidence in Rugby Australia's ability to treat me fairly or lawfully throughout this process."