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Licensed Wallabies star Israel Folau back from rugby, Tonga, Rugby World Cup, Shining Arcs, Rugby Australia

Israel Folau – the man who was sacked by Rugby Australia ahead of the World Cup in 2019 – can quickly reappear as one of the best rugby players in the world.

That’s the opinion of former Wallaby Liam Gill, who will line up alongside Folau for NTT Communications Shining Arcs on Saturday against Kobe Steelers.

“Izzy just picked up where he left off,” Gill told

“I dare say that once he plays this season in Japanese Ligue 1, he will again be considered one of the best in the world.

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“He really didn’t leave anything behind in his spare time.”

As Rugby Australia tries to determine who will grab the No.15 jersey and wear it ahead of the 2023 World Cup, Folau, 32, will set off for Japan.

It will be his first rugby match since Rugby Australia terminated his multi-million contract in early 2019, for what the governing body called homophobic comments on social media.

His controversial sacking not only sparked a horrific chain of events, which ultimately ended with RA accepting undisclosed multi-million dollar settlement fees, but also split the Wallabies in half.

The horrific fiasco lasted a year and was a major break in former coach Michael Cheika’s plans for the World Cup. The Wallabies were knocked out of the World Cup in the quarter-finals by England – their worst result in the tournament.

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After a brief return to the rugby league for the Catalans Dragons and Southport Tigers in the Queensland Cup, Folau signed a two-year contract with the Shining Arcs in July, estimated at around $ 500,000, or half the salary he paid. ‘he touched with RA. .

Folau has no uncertain clause in his contract that he will not post religious messages on his social media accounts.

He has not posted any religious post on Instagram since August 1, 2019.

The air was also not clear in his new Japanese club, the Shining Arcs welcoming Folau with open arms.

“When it comes to air purification, we never really touched anything,” said Gill.

“He landed here at the end of October, joined the squad and we all carried on as usual.”

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Gill, who left Australian rugby in 2016 and played 15 tests for the Wallabies, described Folau as “one of the cutest guys you’ll meet”.

“I never really had anything to do with what happened and I never really had too much time with him in the Wallabies because I was in and out quickly,” said Gill. “But he was a lovely guy back then and he’s still an incredibly lovely person.

“He just came in, continued as usual, gets along with everyone and is absolutely creepy on the pitch.

“Pens (former Waratahs coach Rob Penney) didn’t address anything, (former Wallabies World Cup winner) Matty Cockbain didn’t need to address anything either, so this is just one of those instances where we’re quite grateful to have him on the team.

“She’s a lovely person. He lives in the same unit block as us and he has a lovely family so we all loved that he came here and got away with it and pretty excited to see him play the season with we.

Former great wallabie Toutai Kefu plans to call on Folau for Tonga’s World Cup qualification this year after World Rugby changed its eligibility laws late last year to help strengthen emerging nations .

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Kefu said having access, along with up to 20 others, was a “game changer.”

Folau – three-time medalist John Eales and former Australian rugby flag bearer – will wear the No.15 jersey on Saturday in their season opener.

World Cup-winning Kefu’s teammate Cockbain, who joined Les Arcs ahead of the season and partnered with sacked Waratahs coach Penney, said Folau is in excellent shape.

“He looks as strong physically as I have ever seen him,” said Cockbain.

The great wallabie Will Genia has said that the Japanese community will judge Folau by his actions in the future.

“He’s a great guy,” said Genia. “It doesn’t matter what happened.

“He’s always been humble, hard-working and really kind to people. “