Friday , December 4 2020

NRL news, Benji Marshall questions double-standard in Israel Folau bid

Wests Tigers veteran Benji Marshall has questioned whether barring fallen Wallabies star Israel Folau from returning to rugby league is fair considering the game has historically welcomed back violent offenders.

Folau set the Australian sporting landscape ablaze on Monday when the Tongan rugby league team announced they had made the cross-code star eligible for selection in their end-of-season tests against the Kangaroos and Great Britain.

It's a move that could have been blocked by the International Rugby League Federation considering deputy chairman Peter Beattie revealed the matter hadn't even been discussed with the governing body.

However, on Tuesday night, Marshall highlighted the double standard present in preventing Folau from returning to rugby league considering the game has historically welcomed back violent offenders.

"It doesnt faze me if he's allowed or he's not allowed to play," Marshall told Fox Sports' NRL 360.

"I definitely don't agree with the things he's said, but to me, I think we need to decide what we forgive and what we forget.

"Because I see, and this is my personal opinion, I see domestic violence as worse than what Israel did. I don't agree with that, and yet we let people who have done those actions come back into our game.

"So where do we sit now with what's right and what's wrong?"

While the NRL has undoubtedly clamped down on its stance on violence, historically some players have not been held to the same scrutiny as Folau, whose social media comments claiming homosexuals are where the hell, $ 4 million Rugby Australia contract being torn up.

On Tuesday, host ex-Wallabies teammates offered Folau support in his bid to play rugby league for Tonga, believing it would be a waste if their former teammate never plays elite sports again.

Christian Lealiifano, Will Genia and David Pocock, all wished former star fullback well from the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Lealiifano was extremely effusive, believing Folau would benefit from having a platform to showcase his undoubted skills.

"We're completely focused on this but it's nice to hopefully see him play some footy," Lealiifano told journalists in Tokyo, where they're preparing to face Wales this weekend.

“He’s an exceptional talent and someone I feel would be wasted not playing sport again.

"It'd be nice to see him run around, it should be cool. And I'm happy for him if he gets to do that."

-with AAP

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