Israel Folau's return to rugby league with Mate Ma'a Tonga denied by rugby league

Publish Date
Tuesday, 24 September 2019, 7:14AM
Getty Images & Instagram

Getty Images & Instagram

Following an announcement that Israel Folau could be set to make a return to rugby league, it now looks like he won't be play for Mate Ma'a Tonga due to a decision made by the international body for Rugby League, the Rugby League International Federation.

The Tongan National Rugby League made a bombshell announcement yesterday via their Facebook page, saying that brothers Israel and John Folau would be joining the Mate Ma'a Tonga rugby league team. 

"The Chairman of the Tongan National Rugby League, Mr George Koloamatangi, today announced that both Israel and John Folau will play for Mate Ma’a Tonga in the Oceania Cup to be played in late October, early November" the post stated. 

The Tongan coach even claimed in the statement that the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) had given the green light to a comeback.

However the Rugby League International Federation responded saying that they hadn't approved Folau's comeback.

"That statement is incorrect, the RLIF has not been formally asked to consider this matter." a statement on their Facebook page said.

“The RLIF will not be commenting further on this situation at this stage.” it said.

It all comes after Folau was found guilty of breaching his contract with Rugby Australia over his social media posts which, amongst other messages, claimed homosexuals are going to hell.

But it seemed that Israel Folau was attempting a comeback via Tonga, claiming in a statement on Facebook that he had been cleared to play Great Britain in Hamilton on October 26 and the Kangaroos in Auckland on November 2.

"I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to represent God, my family, my heritage and the people of Tonga," Folau said.