After 1000 days, Israel Folau is back in top-level rugby, scoring two tries in Shining Arcs Tokyo-Bay Urayasu’s 24-23 win over Kobelco Kobe Steelers in Japan’s League One this week.
League One, formerly called Top League, is Japan’s highest level professional Rugby competition. It pays extremely well, attracting Australian talents such as George Gregan and several All-Blacks from New Zealand.
“Former Australia star Israel Folau had a stellar display,” the Kyodo news agency reported.
They describe “a moment of world-class linking-up” that lead to Folau’s second try. The Shining Arcs NZ Super Rugby star Otere Black’s “low punt to the left of the goalposts was covered by both Moeakiola and Yamanaka from the home side [Kobe], but Folau outjumped and muscled them to touch down, giving the visitors a 24-18 lead with four minutes left.”
Folau is back in top form, according to Shining Arcs teammate, former Wallaby Liam Gill.
“Izzy has just picked up where he left off,” Gill told foxsports.com.au.
“I dare say once he plays this season of the Japanese League One, he’ll be considered one of the best in the world again.
Folau’s deal is variously reported as worth $500,000 (the roar sports site) or $1.8m over two years (the Courier Mail).
The Roar reports that his contract has “a clause that he will not post religious messages on his social media account.” The Israel Folau Twitter account has been silent since April 2019. This is the sort of specific clause that Rugby Australia might have used, which would have possibly prevented the Folau saga.
Folau’s arrival in Japan follows a 2020 season with Catalans Dragons in the UK Super League (playing Rugby league) and a signing at Queensland’s Southport club in the Gold Coast Rugby League. Rugby Australia sacked him after his controversial tweets about homosexuality and hell.
Folau is aback at the top of Rugby, but it is a silenced Folau as far as social media is concerned.