Australia vice-captain Will Genia does not expect to play with Israel Folau again but believes the Wallabies can win the Rugby World Cup without him.
Folau is set to be sacked by Rugby Australia following his latest controversial social media posts.
The Wallabies and Waratahs star sparked outrage with his opinions on homosexuality and gender last week, having previously avoided punishment for similar comments.
And Genia acknowledges that it would be difficult for Folau’s team-mates to welcome him back.
“You can have your beliefs and have faith, but you can’t go around trying to tell people they’ll be going to hell because they are a certain way,” he told the Fox Rugby Podcast.
“For me, that’s completely wrong. I certainly think it makes it a bit uncomfortable for people within both those teams and environments to sort of relate to him and, moving forward, maybe even play with him.
“I’m probably resigned to the fact I won’t play with him again.”
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) April 14, 2019
However, Genia is confident Australia can still be a force at the World Cup in Japan later this year.
“We can definitely win the World Cup without him,” he added. “We’ve certainly got talent within the country to cope without Israel.
“We’ve got Dane Haylett-Petty, who can play full-back, Jack Maddocks, who can play full-back, and you’ve got to be able to trust those guys if they’re given the opportunity to play.
“I think we’ll be fine without him – and I’m not trying to be disrespectful by saying that. I just have a lot of confidence in us as a playing group and the players that we have at the moment.”
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