Israel Folau will be staying in France for at least another season after signing a new contract with the Catalan Dragons. The Dragons have confirmed that despite 'strong interest' in the player, the controversial Australian has agreed a new one-year deal that will keep him at the club until the end of the 2021 season.
Folau signed with the Catalan Dragons in January after being sacked by Rugby Australia for writing homophobic posts on social media.
In April of last year, Folau posted a message on Instagram which read: "Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent." The message was accompanied by an image which contained a list including "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators."
An out-of-court settlement followed in December, with Folau then returning to rugby league, the code where he first made his name professionally.
Folau began his rugby league career in 2007 with the Melbourne Storm before moving to Brisbane Broncos. He also represented Queensland in the State of Origin and lined out for Australia before changing to union.
The 31-year-old had recently been linked with a return to the NRL, but will instead be saying with the Dragons after agreeing a new deal.
"Me and my family are very excited to stay on at the club for season 2021," Folau said.
"We're very grateful for the opportunity that Bernard Guasch and the Dragons have given me. I'm looking forward to working hard and achieving great success on the field with my team mates and this great club."
"We are delighted that Israel has committed to the Dragons for 2021," added Steve McNamara, Dragons head coach.
"The most impressive asset he showed in the short period before the confinement was his willingness to work hard for the team.
"On top of that he clearly is a great athlete with a tremendous skill set. We look forward to seeing him continually improve and have an even greater influence over the team's performances through 2020 and 2021.
Bernard Gauch, Dragons chairman, described Folau as a 'highly demanded player.'
"His decision to stay at the club for one more season honours him," Gauch said.
"Once the media storm that followed his signing passed, and after only three Super League appearances, he received many requests and became a highly demanded player. But he feels gratitude for the club.
"He has shown he is a respectful player since he arrived at the club. He will be 32 years old at the end of his new contract and we will then think about the rest of his career."