Bennett open to Folau comeback

England coach Wayne Bennett says he would have no issue with Israel Folau turning out for Tonga as the controversial dual international received overwhelming support from fans to return to rugby league.

Tongan rugby league officials dropped a bombshell on the code on Monday by revealing plans to select sacked Wallaby Folau for upcoming Tests against Bennett's British side on October 26 and Mal Meninga's Kangaroos on November 2.

The Rugby League International Federation claims it was not consulted by TNRL administrators and plans to meet later this week to determine whether Folau will be permitted to return for a Test cameo in Tonga colours.

Should Folau receive the green light, he would make his Mate Ma'a debut at Hamilton against an England outfit coached by Bennett, who vowed not to "judge" the former Broncos star.

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Folau‘s potential comeback has been divisive. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
Folau‘s potential comeback has been divisive. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

 

"I have no idea at all what's going on," Bennett told The Courier-Mail.

"But if the authorities give Israel the all clear to play against us, then that's fine with me.

"I have coached every type of rugby league player.

"I have coached guys who have been in jail. I have coached cleanskins. I have coached against guys I had at other clubs.

"This is ultimately not my decision. I treat everyone as I find them, I don't judge people. I will just do my job for England."

 

As always Wayne Bennett is keeping some perspective. Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images
As always Wayne Bennett is keeping some perspective. Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

 

 

Intriguingly, the common man has rallied in support of Folau.

In an online poll of almost 3000 fans, more than 80 per cent called for Folau to be allowed to turn out for Tonga despite not having appeared in the NRL since leaving the Broncos nine years ago.

ARLC chairman Peter Beattie, also the RLIF deputy chair, said Folau's fate will be known in the coming days at a board meeting of international rugby league's governing body.

Tonga's radical move has gone down like a lead balloon with NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg, who is moving to block Folau from taking on England and Australia.

 

 

 

Former Wallabies coach Alan Jones, a prominent Folau supporter, questioned any move to oppose Folau's bid to play international rugby league.

"They're trying to stop Israel Folau playing for Tonga," Jones said on Sydney radio."

"Any person in any form of administration is trying to stop him playing. He must be some kind of criminal, is he? What has Israel done except profess his Christian faith?"



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