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News: Wallaby Samu Kerevi Breaks Silence In Support of Folau

Caden Helmers, Sydney Morning Herald, 9 November, 2022

Samu Kerevi says Christian players who agreed with Israel Folau’s religious views were banned by Rugby Australia from publicly supporting their teammate during a saga which divided the game.

An ABC documentary titled Folau shines a new light on one of the most divisive chapters in Australian sport, which ultimately led to the former Test fullback losing his contract and missing the 2019 World Cup.

Then-Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle said players were given the opportunity to express their views about Folau’s social media post, which said “hell awaits” drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators.

But Kerevi says players were told “not to say anything”, and he was one of the few who liked the post and has voiced his frustrations about being told to stay silent while those opposing Folau’s views were allowed to speak out.

“We got told from our media teams not to say anything about supporting ‘Izzy’ or saying anything at all,” Kerevi told filmmakers.

“After those coming days, everyone that didn’t support him was all over the news. They were allowed to be interviewed, they were allowed to say they don’t support the message.

“That’s what annoyed us and made us angry. It’s like ‘Hey, you’re allowing one side of the story to be spoken about and to be supported, but not the other’. How come they’re allowed to speak, and we’re not?”

The Folau fiasco served as a precursor to the NRL’s Manly Sea Eagles “Everyone in League” jersey saga, which saw seven players refuse to wear a rainbow-themed uniform. Des Hasler’s side did not win another game after “the Manly seven” took the controversial stance, and the fallout saw their finals hopes go up in smoke. Hasler last month parted ways with the club he first played for almost four decades ago.

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