Teammates post farewell messages for Folau after news of contract termination

International
by RUGBY.com.au staff

Israel Folau's teammates have posted farewell messages to the Wallabies star while Aussie Sevens co-captain Sharni Williams shared an emotional message on Instagram on Friday night.

Sekope Kepu and Tolu Latu were among several of Folau's teammates who posted farewell messages for him on social media in the wake of the decision.

"Will miss going to battle with you my Toko. 'Ofa atu #TT," he wrote.

'Ofa atu translates to "Best wishes" or "Love to you" in English.

While Williams didn't refer directly to Folau in her post, the Olympian shared a powerful letter from a fan to acknowledge International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

"Rugby is more than just a game, it’s about community," she wrote.

"Receiving messages like these make all the losses feel like wins.

"This is a game for everyone. I’m so proud of my team for inspiring humanity. Your words are very moving. Thank you for sharing and for your acceptance. #idahobit #nextgen #morethanjustajob"


Folau commented his appreciation of Kepu's post, while a number of fellow Waratahs "liked" and commented on the picture voicing their support of the sentiment.

In the hours after the decision, a host of Folau's teammates and friends took to Instagram to pay tribute to their high-profile mate.


Latu posted a similar message on his own Instagram account late on Friday evening.

"Will miss playing alongside you my toko!! Ofa atu  #TT," he wrote.










Reds captain Samu Kerevi said earlier in the day that there would be "no winners" from the decision, regardless of the outcome.

"As a player, to see it all unfold like this, it's really sad," he said.

"He's an awesome player, a three-time John Eales Medallist and one of the best players that's graced our fields.

"Whatever decision is coming, I know he's trusting in god. I've spoken to him a couple of times and he's trusting in god's plan for him and whatever the RA decision is, that's their decision and we're just focussing on the footy side of things.

"It's going to be a sad day and I feel like no one really wins out of this.

"Whatever happens, we'll just deal with it and get on with the footy because that's what we've been put here to do.

Samu Kerevi was impressive against Italy. Photo: Getty imagesKerevi is a close friend of Folau's and said once the decision was handed down, players simply had to put their focus well and truly on the field. 

"It's all been dealt with. I don't really want to go into the detail too much because he's a really close friend of mine," he said.

"I've grown to really know Izzy since I've come into the Wallabies fold.

"He took me under his wing from the first time I got in there and for me, to have a guy like him take me under his wing and to be roomed with him was pretty special and after seeing what he does on the field, it's special.

"Whatever comes from it will come and we just have to get on with it.

"It's a big year for footy this year."

  FOLAU'S CONTRACT TERMINATED IN "LANDMARK" DECISION

RUPA released a statement responding to Folau's contract termination on Friday afternoon and while they refrained from any reaction to the verdict, the organisation reiterated its commitment to supporting Folau's well being.

"The Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA) acknowledges the decision reached by the Tribunal in Israel Folau's Code of Conduct hearing," the 

"As the player is entitled to the right of appeal, for 72 hours from when the Tribunal notified him of their sanction, it would be inappropriate for RUPA to comment on the outcome or any elements of the process which has unfolded over the course of the past five weeks.

"With that in mind, RUPA will not be commenting until the Code of Conduct process is completely finalised. RUPA will continue to offer well being support to Israel as required."