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Folau reminded of his responsibilities

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika believes Australian rugby fans have seen the last of Israel Folau's controversial online posts.

Folau reminded of his responsibilities

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika believes Australian rugby fans have seen the last of Israel Folau's controversial online posts.

ISRAEL FOLAU of the Wallabies runs with the ball during the Bledisloe Cup match at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia.
ISRAEL FOLAU of the Wallabies runs with the ball during the Bledisloe Cup match at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia. Picture:Photo by Matt King/Getty Images

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is confident Israel Folau won't walk from rugby despite the divisive superstar understood to be on his last chance after a series of controversial online posts about homosexuality.

Cheika on Thursday revealed he'd spoken to Folau about social media use and would also remind his entire Wallabies squad next month of their responsibilities after six weeks of turmoil for the code.


Despite continuing to routinely preach his extreme religious beliefs on Twitter even since crisis talks with Rugby Australia boss last month, Cheika is hopeful fans have seen the last of Folau's provocative posts.

"We need to be focusing on footy and getting ourselves clear on a big series coming up against the northern hemisphere champions," Cheika said on Macquarie Sports Radio.

"To do that, we've got to have everyone focused on footy.

"So this has been done. It's been dealt with, so it's not going to be an ongoing issue."

Cheika's revelation comes less than 24 hours after he said confused teenage fans needed to "detach" themselves from Folau's potentially harmful posts and ditch the three-times John Eales Medallist as a role model.

Australia's attacking trump is off contract at the end of 2018 and Cheika is eager to retain the champion fullback but seemingly not at the expense of disharmony and ongoing unrest among fans, sponsors and potentially the national team's ranks.

"We've spoken but I'm not going to be reading the riot act about that (online conduct) to anybody," Cheika said.

"I'm going to be reminding guys what the team is about, what it means to be part of the team and then guys make their decisions from there.

"And Izzy wants to be part of the team, not just now, in the future as well.

"There's a lot of people that think that he's trying to use it as some tactic to get out of playing. If he wanted to go, he could go easily.

"He wants to play rugby, he understands that he doesn't want to affect the team around those things because that's my responsibility to the team.

"And I think, like I said, if it's not ongoing, it's not going to be an issue."

Meanwhile, Cheika admitted he had no plans to shift Folau to the wing for the Wallabies this year, despite the NSW Waratahs using the dual international's aerial skills with deadly effect on the flank in some games this season.

"Fullback for me. He's too invaluable around defusing high balls," the coach said.

"You saw what he did on the weekend.

"If you want to get him on the edge to play kick ball to him, you can manufacture that to him, just like the Tahs did in that game when he was on edge.

"He was devastating in that space."

AAP


AAP




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