Radio Sport Mornings' host Jason Pine counts down the top 15 sporting moments of the year. Today: Number 7 - The Israel Folau Saga.

On April 6 at Eden Park, Waratahs fullback Israel Folau scored his 60th try in Super Rugby, passing former All Blacks winger Doug Howlett to become the competition's leading try-scorer since its inception in 1996.

No-one could possibly have known it was to be the last time Israel Folau would take to the rugby field in 2019, or foresee the firestorm that was to engulf him in the months ahead.

In the days following the game at Eden Park, Folau shared an image on Instagram that would provoke a gigantic outpouring of public opinion and lead to one of the greatest free speech debates of the Millennium

The image warned that hell awaits drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves and atheists unless they repent.

Unsurprisingly, the comments were widely condemned by everyone from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to rugby fans and past and present players. Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said Folau's comments made it impossible to select him for Australia ahead of the World Cup.

The next day, Rugby Australia released a statement saying it had failed in its attempts to contact Folau over the past 24 hours and its intention was to terminate his contract unless he could prove there were "mitigating factors".

Rugby Australia offered Folau 48 hours to respond to formal "high level" code of conduct breach sanctions. They cited him as being in violation of rules that players must "use social media appropriately... treat everyone equally, fairly and with dignity regardless of gender, gender identity or sexual orientation... and must not bring you, your team or the game of rugby into disrepute".

The next day, the Waratahs stood Folau down until further notice and a few hours later he met with Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle, who said afterwards Rugby Australia still intended to terminate his contract.

On April 15, Folau spoke publicly for the first time and didn't back down from the controversy. He also said he would happily walk away from rugby.

But two days later, he appealed the attempted sacking, challenging Rugby Australia's breach of contract notice.

A three-person panel would deal with the complicated case in the coming weeks.

Folau employed the services of Jarryd Hayne's lawyers, while Rugby Australia locked in Justin Gleeson, who represented them during the Western Force saga following their controversial axing from Super Rugby.

May the 4th was the date set for Folau's code of conduct hearing at Rugby Australia's headquarters in Sydney.

Whatever the outcome, the hearing wasn't guaranteed to end the saga because either party could consider further court action. Many players began to come forward, some supporting Folau, but most strongly against him.

Two days before the hearing, news emerged that some Wallabies players were reportedly considering boycotting future tests if Folau won his case.

On May 4, Folau's landmark code of conduct hearing began.

There was no indication of how the legal jousting panned out, but one report claimed Rugby Australia could lose more than 12 million Australian dollars if they had to pay out the remainder of Folau's lucrative contract.

Two days of deliberating yielded no significant update and after more than 15 hours of legal arguments, the two parties were given Monday off before proceedings resumed on Tuesday.

On May 7, Folau was found guilty of a high "high-level" breach of his contract. There was little surprise in rugby circles.

Ten days later, on May 17, Folau's contract was official terminated by CEO Raelene Castle. Folau responded with a statement, saying he was deeply saddened by the decision and was considering his options.

The decision wasn't met with unanimous approval, there was opposition, including from former Wallabies coach and high profile radio host Alan Jones.

On June 6, Folau launched legal proceedings, seeking up to AU$10 million in damages, if his sacking was deemed by the Federal Court to be unlawful.

The $10 million was the money left on his contract as well as value lost in the way of other opportunities. He even set up a GoFundMe page, seeking to raise AU$3 million dollars for his legal fight.

He said he'd already spent AU$100,000 of his own money "fighting for what is right".

That move was met with widespread derision with many comparisons to the other causes on GoFundMe. Days later, the GoFundMe page was shut down with the company saying Folau had breached their terms and conditions.

At the time, more than AU$760,000 had been raised.

On July 31, Folau, now armed with a new legal team, released an eight-page statement not only announcing that he was launching proceedings against Rugby Australia on the grounds of Unlawful Termination, but going in-depth into the compensation he was requesting.

The case, lodged with the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne, was seeking monetary damages, an apology from Rugby Australia, and the right for him to resume his rugby career. His solicitors argued there was nothing unlawful about his conduct and it didn't justify Folau losing his career and livelihood.

As the legal process went on, some bizarre "outside" events took place.

On September 23, Folau said in a press statement that he'd been given the green light to feature in an end-of-season rugby league test for Tonga against Australia.

The international Rugby League federation said they were blindsided by the claim, hadn't received a request to register Folau and, in fact, knew nothing about it.

Folau also claimed the ongoing bush-fire crisis was punishment from God for Australia legalising same sex marriage.

On November 17, with the legal case ramping up, he now asking for AU$14 million, rather than the initial AU$10 million. He said the Wallabies would have gained "superior performance" from his inclusion at the World Cup... and that he could even have been Australian captain.

Folau, Rugby Australia and their representatives met for what would be the final time on December 2nd.

On December 4, it finally ended.

After 14 hours of negotiations, a joint statement from Rugby Australia and Israel Folau was issued.

The two parties had reached a confidential settlement that included an apology from the sport's governing body to Folau and his family.

The statement also said Folau didn't intend to hurt or harm the game of rugby and acknowledged and apologised for any hurt or harm he'd caused.

It was, and will remain, one of the most divisive sagas in the history of rugby.

Thankfully, it's over.