Australian Rugby Union officials are reeling after the shock announcement that superstar player Israel Folau will quit the Wallabies in order to represent Brunei.
Folau announced that he will no longer represent Australia because he wishes to play for a country whose values are more closely aligned with his personal beliefs on homosexuality and adultery.
The Waratahs star has been slammed for yet another social media post claiming that homosexuals and adulterers will be punished by God and sent to hell, while the Sultan of Brunei has been widely condemned for recently introducing death by stoning for adulterers and homosexuals, in line with Sharia law.
“I have decided to represent a nation which practices values which correspond with my own personal core beliefs,” announced Folau via a statement.
“The Sultan of Brunei lives according to a strict religious code, and even though we do not follow the same religion, we share a belief that committing adultery and being a homosexual is wrong and should be punished.”
The announcement leaves the Wallabies without their star player just months before the World Cup, and is a major coup for Brunei, which has a fledgling Rugby Union program as a result of its obsession with everything British and its membership of the British Commonwealth.
“We are very excited that Israel Folau will represent Negara Brunei Darussalam in Rugby Union,” said a spokesman for the Sultan.
“He is one of the biggest stars of the game and it is such an honour for us. As such, the Sultan will allow him to cast the first stone when we stone the first gay man to death.
We know he will greatly improve our national team. We are prepared to ignore the fact that he is a Christian, just as we are prepared to ignore the fact that our own Sultan is an adulterer.”
Folau’s management team revealed that the code-swapping star had been frustrated with the Australian sporting culture for some time, especially the open embrace of the Gay and Lesbian community in sports that he has played at the highest level.
“Israel saw the AFL welcoming the LGBTQI community and even holding a pride game, and this did not sit well with him. He also feared that the rugby codes might jump on the bandwagon and start pasting rainbows over their logos and promotional material.”
The recruitment of Folau brings Brunei in line with other oil-rich Islamic nations, such as Qatar and Bahrain, who have ‘acquired’ foreign athletes in order to strengthen their national teams.
The sudden announcement has sparked many questions and rumours. Pundits question which position Folau will play, whether he will live in Brunei and whether he will be forced to attend Friday prayer.
Rumours also persist that Brunei is attempting to recruit other prominent League and Union players who ‘liked’ Folau’s recent homophobic post, including Michael Jennings, Marika Koroibete, Tim Mannah, Albert Vete and Queensland Reds captain Samu Kerevi.
Rugby Australia is yet to comment on the post and Folau’s defection.