Wallabies insider spills on Folau chaos
WALLABIES scrum half Nick Phipps has admitted to being disappointed with the entire Israel Folau saga as Rugby Australia faces its ongoing crisis over the sacked fullback.
The 30-year-old veteran said he and the playing group had very little to do with Folau after the controversial star posted his second homophobic image to Instagram.
Rugby Australia was quick to drop the sword through his contract, ending his employment with both the Waratahs and the national side.
"He had to bunker down, he was locked down with his family and his management. We didn't really get an opportunity to see him," Phipps said on Channel 9's Sports Sunday.
When probed by Peter FitzSimons on how the playing group received Folau's actions, Phipps said he "couldn't speak for everyone" but admitted it had shaken both the Wallabies and the Waratahs to their cores ahead of the pointy end of the year.
"I definitely don't agree with the stance that he's taken - I'm extremely disappointed. But that's his view according to him - and I can't speak for the rest of the group, but a lot of players are disappointed with how it's all gone down," Phipps said.
"It's something that's distracted us from our (Waratahs) goal to be making finals this year. It's disappointing watching the game I love be picked apart for eight months. There's so many good stories in rugby union and we just aren't getting to talk about them."
Phipps' comments came after Rugby Australia lashed out at Israel Folau for disrupting the sport, after an explosive letter from the 30-year-old, accusing the governing body of leaking details of his code of conduct hearing, was made public.
Folau sent the letter to the Rugby Australia board after Sydney's Daily Telegraph ran a series of stories last week on his dramatic fall from grace for homophobic comments on social media.
The reports included intimate details of his tribunal hearing, which was meant to be private.
Super Rugby's record try-scorer opted not to appeal against the ruling that he was guilty of a "high level" breach of the sport's code of conduct and instead launched legal action, asserting he had simply posted a message from the Bible.
In his letter, which also was obtained by the Telegraph and published on Saturday evening, Folau alleged Rugby Australia was the source of the leaks, which he called "blatantly unfair".
"I would like to know why Rugby Australia has not managed to maintain the integrity of its processes and ensure that information was kept private and confidential," he said.
"For example, I am not 'sick of rugby' and whoever told the media that I am is telling lies.
"Another example is the way the media has been told that your expectations were made clear to me by Ms (Raelene) Castle. We all know that is far from the truth," he added, referring to Rugby Australia's chief executive.
"It makes me sad that these things have apparently been told to the media by someone at Rugby Australia.
"If you are not the source, why has no one come out to set the record straight?"
Rugby Australia hit back in a statement, saying the "media campaign" being run by Folau's camp was affecting all levels of rugby and had overshadowed a crunch Super Rugby match between the NSW Waratahs - Folau's former team - and the ACT Brumbies in Sydney.
- with AAP