Israel Folau could make a shock comeback to the Test arena after expressing an interest to represent Tonga at the 2023 World Cup.
The cross-code star is said to be back in Brisbane after recently becoming a free agent following his stint for rugby league side the Catalans Dragons in the European Super League. Folau switched back to league after he was booted from rugby union following his controversial social-media posts and subsequent legal battle with RA.
The 31-year-old was handed his marching orders back in 2019 following a drawn-out and very public investigation over homophobic social-media posts.
Following much speculation that Folau might represent Tonga at this year’s Rugby League World Cup, it has now come to light that the 31-year-old has set his sights on selection for the Tongan rugby union team at the 2023 World Cup in France and has already initiated talks with Tonga head coach Toutai Kefu.
‘He’s Tongan, he’s a bloody good player – we’re more than happy to have him and accommodate him … we’d have no concerns,’ Kefu said.
‘We all grew up the same way. We all went to Sunday school and then there’s different divisions of religion that we all grew up in. We certainly all support Israel and his views.’
As is the case with Folau – who is a 73-time-capped Wallaby – Tonga are also trying to get the green light to select capped All Blacks Charles Piutau, Malakai Fekitoa and George Moala.
A Test-capped player needs to complete a three-year international stand-down period before being eligible to play for another country he holds a passport for.
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