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Kepu reveals Aussie camp was split over Folau saga

Former Australian prop Sekope Kepu says Folau’s absence in Japan resulted in the Wallabies having a mediocre World Cup.

Kepu (left) was annoyed Folau (right) was sacked.
Kepu (left) was annoyed Folau (right) was sacked.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THE AUSTRALIAN SQUAD were split during the World Cup because of the Israel Folau fall-out, according to the former Wallabies prop, Sekope Kepu.

Two players, Kepu and Samu Kerevi, filed affidavits in support of Folau’s case against Rugby Australia, the governing body. Folau had been sacked after publicly stating, via social media, that hell awaited homosexuals who didn’t repent. The case was settled out of court.

News Corp – the global media company – got a hold of court documents which outlined the scale of Kepu’s discontent with the process that led to his friend, Folau, being chopped from their World Cup squad.

Kepu claims he was withdrawn from a media conference – because the authorities feared what he might say, in support of Folau. He also said he missed a pre-World Cup training camp. “The Wallabies’ next camp after Israel’s posts in April 2019 was in around July 2019, before our Rugby Championship matches that year.

“I did not attend the camp. This was because I was so upset about the way in which management had handled Israel’s situation that I didn’t think it would be a good thing for me to attend,” Kepu wrote.

The prop, who won 110 caps for Australia, said the Wallabies would have had a better tournament in Japan had Folau been there. They lost to England in the quarter-finals.

“There is no doubt to me that the Wallabies would have gone further in the 2019 Rugby World Cup if Israel had been on the team”.

In response, Raelene Castle, the chief executive of Rugby Australia, denied the accusations to the Sydney Morning Herald.

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“A lot of work was done by Rugby Australia and the Super Rugby teams to provide open communication on the issue to all players throughout the matter, and when requested, counsel and advice was provided to individuals,” Castle said.

“At all times the priority for Rugby Australia and the Super Rugby teams was to support the players.

“We wrote to all players to remind them of their obligations under the code of conduct and our social media policy, but no player was prevented from speaking about the issue, or asked to support Rugby Australia’s position regarding Israel in the media.”

About the author:

Garry Doyle

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