Michael Cheika refuses to criticise Israel Folau after his anti-gay comments

Children who don't agree with Israel Folau's anti-gay comments should look for another idol according to Michael Cheika

Children who don't agree with Israel Folau's anti-gay comments should look for another idol according to Michael Cheika

Asked what his message would be to a young homosexual rugby fan who may idolise Folau, Cheika said support systems and learning to "detach" from such messages was the key.

The code-hopping superstar has suffered widespread backlash for publicising his extreme views, with the Wallabies' major sponsor Qantas outraged and others including All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara pointing out Folau's profound influence on vulnerable youngsters.

Folau won't be catching the bus to Waratahs training any time soon though - he still gets around in style in his $500,000 Lamborghini, bought previous year.

Devout Christian Folau, one of Australia's most marketable players, caused a storm last month when he posted on social media that gay people were destined for hell.

"There's been a lot made of [this]", he told Fox Sports Australia.

"Self-esteem in people, no matter who they are, is extremely important - self-belief, self-esteem - and if that's something that you don't agree with, then you detach from that."
"That way it'll be, "he's no longer my idol" if that's the case."

"You've got to protect those kids, from everything that's out there, there's other things out there you might not like (too)". "Us as parents, which I am, and as coaches, which I try to do with the (Wallabies) lads because it happens all around".

"When players are getting the same in return - nasty messages, social media - it's about trying to build self-belief so you're not affected by those things."

Meanwhile, Cheika admitted he had no plans to shift Folau to the wing for the Wallabies this year, despite the NSW Waratahs using the dual international's aerial skills with deadly effect on the flank in some games this season. "And like I said, if it's not ongoing then it's not going to be an issue".

"You saw what he did on the weekend".

"Izzy wants to be part of the team, not just now but in the future as well".

"He was devastating in that space".

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