A leading behavioural scientist says the settlement between Rugby Australia and Israel Folau will save lives of at-risk LGBT youth.

Rugby Australia and Folau announced an out-of-court settlement last week following months of fallout stemming from Folau being sacked over his controversial social media posts, which read: "Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolators: Hell Awaits You. Repent! Only Jesus Saves."

Monash University researcher Erik Denison told the AAP the settlement avoids a trail which would have included "misinformed armchair commentary from people who clearly don't understand that children's lives are at stake".

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"Having this drawn out would have continued and enhanced the harm done to these kids, with all of the negative sentiments that have been directed towards the community and particularly people who are struggling with their sexuality," he said.


"It's been really, really, really, really frustrating for us that this has been framed so effectively as a workplace rules versus religious freedom thing, when there's so many people working in the trenches to try and save the lives of kids impacted by discrimination in sport," Denison said.

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In a video posted on his website, Folau said he was "extremely pleased" with the settlement.

"With today's acknowledgement and apology by Rugby Australia we have been vindicated and can now move on with our lives to focus on our faith and our family," Folau said.

Denison disagreed there was vindication for Folau.

"They didn't apologise for terminating his contract and they didn't reinstate him. That would be a vindication," he told AAP.

"What they did was issue a statement that was pragmatic, and was necessary to end this, and I think most Australians would view the statements that way."

Denison said Rugby Australia has now set a standard when it comes to homophobia.


"Rugby has really set the bar, and that's the most heartening thing."

"I have no doubt in my mind that it will have saved the lives of kids, in terms of long-term benefits. That it will send a really strong message to everyone involved in the sport that gay people are valued and that they're worthy of being protected."