Israel Folau has reportedly turned down the opportunity to switch back into rugby union following his cross-code move to rugby league at the start of this year following the termination of his Rugby Australia contract.
Folau reached a settlement last December with RA over his controversial sacking for writing anti-gay posts on social media. The ex-Wallabies star had been suing for Aus $14million after having his contract terminated last May. A Christian, Folau argued that the termination of his contract was a case of religious discrimination.
Unable to pick up a contract in union amid the fallout in Australia, Folau opted to make the switch to league, hooking up with Catalan Dragons, the French-based SuperLeague club.
He hit the ground running in Perpignan, requiring just six minutes to score a try on his debut. However, his return was stopped in its tracks by the season-suspending coronavirus pandemic.
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Amid the virus-enforced layoff, Folau seemingly became subject to an offer to move to Montpellier, the Top 14 union club where Philippe Saint-Andre, the 2015 France World Cup coach, has recently taken charge.
It must surely have been tempting for Folau to make a quick return to the XV-a-side code, given that he is still one of the most talented backs around after a 78-Test cap career.
But rather than give in to this temptation, rugbyrama.fr are reporting that the 31-year-old has instead opted to take up a contract extension at the Dragons and will remain in the 13-a-side game for next season.
Folau's comeback amounted to just three appearances, but the Catalan club's faith in the Australian has been repaid with his decision to stay with them rather than make a swift switch to a different place – and a different sport – in France.