As the Code of Conduct hearing approaches for Israel Folau and Rugby Australia, it appears the Wallabies could have a bigger issue on their plate.
According to the Australian, several players could launch a boycott and make themselves 'unavailable to play' if RA goes ahead with sacking Folau over his anti-gay social media post.
Credit: Israel Folau/Instagram
The star player wrote on Instagram that homosexuals, along with a bunch of other sinners like drunks and fornicators, would go to hell if they didn't repent and change their ways.
In any other year a boycott would still deal a particularly bad blow to the team, however in 2019 we find ourselves in a Rugby World Cup year. That means if Australia isn't going in with the best players then we may as well kiss the cup goodbye.
One of Folau's teammates has taken the bold step in suggesting Rugby Australia should just get rid of all Polynesian players because they all believe in Jesus.
Wallabies prop Taniela Tupou wrote on Facebook: "Might as well sack me and all the other Pacific Islands rugby players around the world because we have the same Christian beliefs.
"I will never apologise for my faith and what I believe in, religion had nothing to do with rugby anyways?"
The debate around this whole issue has centred on what Folau's comments have to do with his ability to play rugby. While a social media post doesn't affect his skills, it has affected the team.
Senior Wallaby Will Genia told Fox Sports: "There are blokes at the Wallabies and the Waratahs that have certain beliefs that very much conflict with what he has said and done.
"I certainly think it makes it a bit uncomfortable for people within those team environments to relate to him and, moving forward, even to play with him."
You certainly don't want team cohesion to be in jeopardy when you're stepping out on the Rugby World Cup field.
Will Genia was scathing in his reaction to the Israel Folau post. Credit: PA
Rugby Australia Chief Executive Raelene Castle released a statement shortly after the Folau post, saying: "Whilst Israel is entitled to his religious beliefs, the way in which he has expressed these beliefs is inconsistent with the values of the sport.
"Israel has failed to understand that the expectation of him as a Rugby Australia and NSW Waratahs employee is that he cannot share material on social media that condemns, vilifies or discriminates against people on the basis of their sexuality.
"As a code we have made it clear to Israel formally and repeatedly that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action."
It'll be interesting to see what happens at the hearing and whether this boycott goes ahead.
Featured Image Credit: PA