Israel Folau retired from training the Catalan Dragons against the Sydney Roosters ahead of the World Club Challenge, apparently due to a tired and sore body following his first Super League game.
The multi-code polarizing superstar was expected to take part in the opposite two-hour session of the Dragons between his new club and the first two times in defense of the NRL at the Barcelona Olympic Stadium.
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The Gauls are aiming to win consecutive World Club challenges against Super League champions St Helens on Sunday morning (AEDT).
But Catalan coach Steve McNamara confirmed that Folau didn’t make the trip to northeastern Spain.
“It feels like a bus has hit him,” said McNamara Sydney Morning Herald, referring to the first game of Folau in more than a year when he made his Catalan debut against Castleford last weekend.
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The decision ended what had been a real cause of concern for the Gauls.
The former Wallaby was fired from Rugby Australia last year for saying in a post on social media that homosexuals, along with other sinners, are destined for hell unless they repent.
His decision to sign a one-year deal with the Catalans worth around $ 400,000 created a wave of controversy in the Super League, with clubs eventually voting for a new rule that gives them the power to put the veto on similarly controversial signatures in the future.
Two weeks ago, the coach of the Gauls, Trent Robinson, worked to express how the decision of the Tricolors to train with Folau does not in any way trust his homophobic comments.
“A two-hour session against it does not mean that we are validating his views,” said Robinson The Herald then. “It was organized last December, before we knew Izzy had signed with the Catalans. In the end, let’s train.
“It is a difficult thing for me because I have known Israel for some time. You like a person, he absolutely hates a part of what he represents, but look from the outside on how this boy will prove himself a teammate and a model of positive role? “
Fortunately, for Robinson, the Gauls and the NRL, the possible harmful outlook of Folau who laughs and has fun with the Tricolors players is no longer a problem.
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