Israel Folau’s future hangs in the balance.
Israel Folau’s future hangs in the balance.

Teammate’s big Israel Folau worry

Kurtley Beale worries about Israel Folau's mental health but says the NSW Waratahs and Wallabies must move on.

A state and Australian teammate of Folau's since 2013, Beale can empathise with the dual international's plight having himself taken on - and won - an employment battle with Rugby Australia five years ago.

The governing body attempted to sack Beale over a text messaging scandal in late 2014 before he was spared at a tribunal hearing. Beale was fined $45,000 but allowed to continue his career after being found guilty of a serious violation following an image he sent, prompting a complaint by then-Wallabies' business manager Di Patston.

Folau also faces a code of conduct hearing next weekend after Rugby Australia declared its intention to terminate the star's $4 million, four-year contract for his controversial social media posts.

Beale was non-committal when asked if he could see a way back for Folau, who has been stood down by the Waratahs and condemned by Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.

Beale (left) hopes his teammate is doing OK after the storm his social media post created.
Beale (left) hopes his teammate is doing OK after the storm his social media post created.

"There's obviously a bit of process going on now. Obviously it goes through the code of conduct (hearing)," Beale said on the eve of the Waratahs' Super Rugby match South Africa's Sharks on Saturday night in Sydney.

"I guess as a mate you just worry about his head space and you hope that he's OK there and our full focus shifts now to the game on the weekend for us as a team.

"As a squad, we did that last week and it's important that we continue that and keep building on the progress that we had last week.

"So it is what it is and we've just got to let the process kind of take over now."

Ironically, Beale has taken over Folau's fullback role at the Waratahs and could also end up wearing the No. 15 gold jumper at this year's World Cup in Japan if Folau fails to win his case against RA.


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