‘Control yourself, Izzy’: Gregan urges restraint
FORMER Wallabies captain George Gregan wants Israel Folau to stop preaching and let his football do the talking as Rugby Australia agonises over how to deal with the divisive superstar.
RA boss Raelene Castle admits Folau's provocative religious views opposing homosexuality and same-sex marriage are proving the biggest challenge of her decade-long sports administration career.
But despite conceding he was "walking the line", Castle has so far opted not to sanction the code-hopping match-winner.
She insists though that has nothing to do with the governing body being eager to retain Folau beyond 2018 when his contract expires.
"In my career, this is singularly the most difficult thing I've ever had to deal with," Castle told Fox Sports' Kick and Chase program on Wednesday night.
"There's no black and white answer.
"On the one hand, you're dealing with a human rights issue. On the other hand, you're dealing with freedom of speech and someone's right to express their views, whether it be religious or otherwise.
"I think the test continues to be whether that's done in a respectful way, so that's the measure that we'll continue to apply."
For his part, Gregan - an unabashed fan of the record-setting dual international - thinks it's time for Folau to shut up.
The saga has continued for more than a month now.
"As soon as you bring it on the social media platform, it becomes a huge, huge point of discussion about the game, not necessarily for the right reasons and not representative of the people in the game of rugby," Gregan said.
"That's my concern with this. Let's talk football. These beliefs that you talk about, keep them to yourself.
"I don't see there's a need to be putting it on a huge social platform because it takes away from what he is; a great rugby player."