May 17, 2019 / 5:34 AM / 8 days ago

Factbox - Australian rugby union player Israel Folau

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Wallabies fullback Israel Folau was sacked by Rugby Australia on Friday after he was found to have committed a high level breach of the players’ code of conduct by sharing a social media post:

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - England v Australia - Twickenham Stadium, London, Britain - November 24, 2018 Australia's Israel Folau runs in to score their first try REUTERS/Toby Melville

EARLY LIFE

** Born April 3, 1989 in Sydney.

** Of Tongan heritage, Folau was raised in the Mormon Church.

** Moved to Brisbane as a child and grew up playing rugby league.

** Noticed by a scout from National Rugby League club Melbourne Storm and made his debut for the side in 2007 as a 17-year-old, becoming the youngest player to appear for the team.

RUGBY LEAGUE

**Scores an equal highest 21 tries in his debut season, breaking an NRL record, and becomes the youngest player to play for the Australian national side aged 18 years, 194 days.

** Plays his first State of Origin game for Queensland in 2008 and was named in the Kangaroos for the Rugby League World Cup.

** Moves to the Brisbane Broncos in 2009.

SWAPPING CODES

** Was the subject of an intense bidding war in 2010 between rugby league, rugby union and Australian Rules football.

** Joins the AFL’s expansion side Greater Western Sydney Giants on a reported A$6 million, four-year contract.

** Struggles to adapt to the new code and appears in 13 of the Giants’ 22 games in their debut AFL season in 2012, with the side finishing bottom of the table.

RUGBY UNION

** Switches to rugby union at the end of 2012, signing a one-year contract with the New South Wales Waratahs.

** Is selected for the Wallabies for the series against the British and Irish Lions, scoring two tries in his test debut on the wing before cementing himself as the first-choice fullback.

** Signs a contract extension through until the 2015 Rugby World Cup and helps the Waratahs to their first Super Rugby title in 2014. Is named Australia’s Player of the Year, winning the John Eales Medal, which he would win again in 2015 and 2017.

CONTROVERSY

** Having converted to the Pentecostal church as an adult, Folau provokes controversy in 2017 with comments that he does not support gay marriage, going against RA’s public stance.

** Uses social media in April 2018 to state he believed gay people would go to hell if they did not repent, prompting several sponsors to voice their displeasure.

** RA do not sanction Folau, but remind players of their social media responsibilities.

** Signs a new four-year contract, reportedly worth A$4 million, in February, 2019.

** Becomes Super Rugby’s highest try scorer when he scores his 60th try against the Auckland Blues in April, then days later uses social media to share biblical quotations and states that sinners, including gay people, would go to hell unless they repented.

** RA begin disciplinary proceedings, with a three-person panel finding on May 7 he was guilty of a ‘high-level’ breach of the code of conduct.

Compiled by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Ian Ransom

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