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Ex-Wallaby Folau named in Tonga squad

Israel Folau will make his return to international rugby with Tonga three years after his Wallabies contract was terminated over a controversial social media post.

The 33-year-old outside back was named in Tonga’s squad on Friday for the Pacific Nations Cup tournament in July and a playoff for next year’s World Cup in France.

Folau, an evangelical Christian, had his Australia contract torn up in 2019 after he posted a meme on social media which said “hell” awaits homosexuals and other groups.

He then sued governing body Rugby Australia for unlawful termination seeking $A14 million in damages.

The case was settled out of court, with Rugby Australia and Folau issuing a joint statement and apology in late 2019.

Folau continued his professional rugby career, taking a contract with Japanese side Shining Arcs last year.

Tonga will meet Pacific Nations Cup hosts Fiji, Samoa and an Australia ‘A’ team at the July 2-16 tournament.

A week later, they face the winner of the Asia Rugby Championship in a one-match playoff to decide who will join South Africa, Ireland, Scotland and a team from the Europe 2 zone in Pool B at the World Cup.

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