Israel Folau makes shock rugby union return after signing for Japanese side Shining Arcs

In 2019, Folau reached a settlement with Rugby Australia after being sacked for an Instagram post in which he said “hell awaits” gay people.

He also suggested that Australia’s bushfires and droughts in 2019 were punishments from God for the country’s same-sex and abortion laws.

A devout Christian, Folau made 73 appearances for Australia’s rugby union side but switched back to rugby league last year, signing for Super League side Catalans Dragons.

The move was strongly condemned from both within the rugby world and in wider society.

The Rugby Football League — the sport’s governing body — said allowing the signing had been a “difficult decision” and deplored the player’s previous comments.

Folau’s new side, NTT Communications Shining Arcs, play in Japan’s Top League.

It comes a week after Folau resumed his career in Australia, registering to play for amateur rugby league club Southport Tigers, according to Reuters.