Israel Folau

Damian McKenzie and Israel Folau star in Japan

McKenzie, taking over from fellow All Black Barrett as the star import at the Tokyo Sungoliath, was instrumental in their 60-46 win over the Brave Lupus in the opening weekend of the revamped 2022 League One season.

McKenzie kicked nine goals - four conversions and five penalties - for 23 points.

Playing at fullback, he sparked plenty of counter-attacks in the high-scoring affair.

Recalled Wallaby Sean McMahon scored three tries for the Sungoliath who are looking to go one better this year after finishing runner-up in 2021.

‘We’d welcome him with open arms’: Folau ‘keen’ on remarkable Rugby World Cup comeback

The World Rugby Council will meet on November 24 to vote on a proposal to allow players to represent a second nation.

World Rugby officials want Pacific island nations to be strengthened by being able to pick homegrown players who have made their Test debuts for other countries.

Folau has not played rugby union since he was sacked by Rugby Australia in 2019 following a controversial social media post.

The 32-year-old played for French rugby league outfit the Catalans last year but is on the cusp of a union comeback in Japanese rugby.

Catalans Dragons release dual-code Australia international

The 32-year-old centre had announced his intention to join Queensland-based side Southport Tigers last month.

Queensland Rugby League refused to ratify the move because he was still contracted to his Super League club.

Folau signed an extension with Catalans for 2021 but the club has agreed to release him with immediate effect.

Catalans had initially been considering legal action, with the French side club's football manager Alex Chan saying last month he was "shocked" by news of Folau's bid to make a playing return in Australia.

Folau's amateur rugby league hopes hit contract hurdle

The dual code international is looking to play with his two brothers at Southport Tigers in the Gold Coast amateur competition, two years after he was sacked by Rugby Australia for social media posts deemed discriminatory by rugby union's governing body.

The Queensland Rugby League (QRL) said it could not register Folau because he had not provided confirmation of his release from a contract with his previous team.

Folau played a season for French side Catalan Dragons before quitting the Super League club last year and returning to Australia with his family.

Ex-Wallabies star Israel Folau set for two more legal battles upon return to Australian rugby league

Palmer’s Mineralogy company is bankrolling Folau’s proposed bid to play rugby league for the Southport Tigers in Gold Coast’s A-Grade competition this year.

The 32-year-old the dual international, who had his contract terminated by Rugby Australia (RA) in 2019 after saying “hell awaits” gay people in a social media post, is hoping to play for the Tigers alongside brothers John and Eni in the third-tier competition.

Palmer has indicated he wants Folau to be on the field for Southport’s clash against Burleigh Bears at Pizzey Park this Saturday.

‘It was a big shock’: Fresh twist as Folau’s comeback bid threatens to turn ‘nasty’

It is Folau’s latest bid to end a sporting exile sparked by his homophobic social media posts.

The former rugby union international told a press conference he planned to start playing next week for the Tigers, a club who controversial mining billionaire Clive Palmer is a patron of.

But his registration as a player has yet to be approved by the Queensland Rugby League.

And now Catalans football manager Alex Chan has responded, declaring Folau’s latest move was a “big shock”.

Lobby ramp up effort to get Israel Folau back playing

The Australian Christian Lobby took out the ad this week in The Daily Telegraph in an effort to heap pressure on the NRL, who said no to a return to their league after he left Australian rugby union under a cloud after his explosive sacking and a subsequent court case over a number of disputed social media posts.

On their petition page, the Australian Christian Lobby write: “Israel Folau is a much-loved Australian champion who has been banned from the NRL for once sharing a post on social media that they didn’t like.

NRL knocks back Israel Folau's request for face-to-face meeting on potential return

Folau is keen to return to rugby league in Australia despite St George Illawarra’s decision to abandon their plans to recruit him. The Dragons were concerned by a backlash from fans and sponsors, as well as a belief his chances of being registered by the governing body were slim.

The setback hasn’t dissuaded the cross-code star from attempting to return to the game in which he made his name. Folau’s representatives reached out to NRL officials to request a meeting, but were told there was nothing to discuss until a team made an application to register him.

Former Kiwis centre Dean Whare leaves NRL for Super League side Catalans Dragons

Whare is leaving after eight years at the Panthers and almost 10 years in the NRL to link up with his former Penrith teammate James Maloney in Perpignan.

Catalans are reportedly “resigned to losing Israel Folau’’, who has returned to Australia to be near wife Maria’s ill mother, according to a report in England's League Express newspaper.

Whare, who has played 130 games for the Panthers, was contracted for 2021, but has opted to join Catalans on a two-year deal at short notice.

Israel Folau bombarded with 'gay pornography' after joining team Whats App group

A devout Christian, Folau and Rugby Australia parted company after a lengthy legal row over alleged homophobic social media posts that ultimately ended in the union coughing up a mullti-million dollar payout for the star. He ended up back in league with Super League’s Catalan Dragons, where at least one teammate was eager to prank him over his views.