Rugby Australia defends Israel's Folau settlement over fired anti-LGBT posts

       Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle has defended their decision to reach a settlement with Israel Folau

0:42 Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle has defended their decision to reach a settlement with Israel Folau

A leading behavioural scientist has suggested that Rugby Australia's settlement with disgraced homophobe Israel Folau could actually be a victory for LGBT+ youths and children.

Folau, who had been seeking compensation of A$14 million, apologised for "any hurt or harm caused to the game of rugby".

Two years after Castle was tasked with steadying Rugby Australia's listing ship, Folau, a poor World Cup and the demise of a lucrative TV deal have detained her in choppy waters.

While his comments drew outrage, it was a case that exposed divisions in Australian society after Folau won backing from conservatives who defended his right to express his religious views.

"So we made a decision that gave us cost certainty that put us in the best financial decision entering the new year in a positive way", she said.

"We stick to our values that inclusiveness is absolutely core to rugby". "Ultimately, taking this conversation further into a court situation was not helping the game".

"Never say never, because that would be insane", she said when pressed by reporters on the issue. It has been a really arduous time for Rugby Australia.

"In the end, it was about the hard time for which Rugby Australia apologized, but we stick to our decision".

Israel Folau departs his conciliation meeting with Rugby Australia at Fair Work Commission on June 28, 2019 in Sydney.

Castle responded that it is clear that their values are not aligned and the expectations that Rugby Australia would have for Folau's return would not be acceptable. "He's been terminated since April", she said when asked if he could play for an Australian club in the southern hemisphere tournament under the settlement.

She adds at the end of the day, they do not believe that Folau would sign under the current players contract.

An attempt to join Tonga's national rugby league team in September faltered amid in-fighting among officials, and Folau has recently focused on his legal battle and preaching at the Sydney church where he worships.

"Ultimately we've had extensive support from the rugby community and also from the wider business community".

Castle will be delighted to finally see the back of Folau, after admitting he had caused her the toughest challenge of her career when he posted similar comments past year.

Castle said, "That apology was going either way, because this was very stressful, it was a very hard time for the Folaus".

Castle will now be looking forward eagerly to the arrival of fellow New Zealander Dave Rennie, the highly rated new Wallabies coach whose signing was one of the brightest moments of Rugby Australia's year.

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