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Tonga coach wants Israel Folau for 2023 Rugby World Cup

Tonga coach Toutai Kefu wants sacked Wallaby Israel Folau to play for Tonga at the 2023 World Cup and has been in touch about switching allegiances, a report said yesterday.

Folau, 30, was fired by Rugby Australia last month for posting homophobic comments on social media in a case that sparked debate about religious expression.

Folau, who is of Tongan heritage, has launched legal action through Australia's employment watchdog, the Fair Work Commission.

Under a loophole in World Rugby regulations, he could apply to play for Tonga if he sits out three years of international rugby and then represents Tonga at Sevens in an Olympic qualifying event.

"We'd love to have him... The next World Cup he'd be available for us hopefully," Kefu said.

"It's a long time away, so we'll let the dust settle a bit after his most recent issues. We don't even know if he's going to play again." - AFP

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