Folau’s cryptic message on verdict D-Day
ISRAEL Folau has sent a cryptic message by deleting his Instagram profile photo ahead of his reported contract termination D-Day on Wednesday.
On Tuesday night the Wallabies star took to his social media profiles on Instagram and Twitter to replace the previous image, which showed him pointing to the sky while celebrating scoring a try for the Waratahs.
In its place the former NRL and AFL star has posted an image showing the No.1 written in tiny words of "God" with the phrase "God First" at its centre.
The same image has also been posted as his new Twitter account photo.
The previous profile picture is still shown on his Instagram account, but is no longer in a high-visibility section.
The message is being viewed by some rugby commentators as a sign Folau has accepted he will no longer be an employee of the Wallabies or the Waratahs by the end of the week.
The fundamentalist Christian faces being sacked by RA after being found to have committed a high-level code of conduct breach for an Instagram post that said hell awaited "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers" and others.
The Daily Telegraph's Julian Linden wrote the message was a sign "Folau is slowly but surely distancing himself from the sport".
Folau's contract is reportedly expected to be terminated on Wednesday or Thursday when an independent three-person panel convenes to deliver their verdict into his code of conduct hearing.
The Daily Telegraph was the first report to that the panel had already come to a unanimous judgment that Folau's Instagram post constituted a high-level breach of the game's code of conduct and warranted immediate termination.
It is a hammer blow to Folau, who is set to be left with nothing after reportedly previously knocking back a settlement offer of $1 million, a figure that RA has denied.
If the panel rules to terminate Folau's contract, RA will not have to pay a cent more on his four-year, $4 million contract. However, Folau can still request to appeal the verdict under a different three-member panel.
He is also reportedly considering further legal action, despite the rising costs of his legal defence.
Earlier this week he revealed how he had resisted the "temptation" of a peace offering from Rugby Australia that would have allowed him to resurrect his playing career.
During a Sydney church address, the Wallabies star described his fallout with the governing body as "challenging" and spoke of being tempted by the "opportunity" to rekindle his career with the NSW Waratahs and Wallabies.
But in a video of him speaking at a church service on Sunday afternoon, Folau insisted the process was not finished and the "outcome is yet to be known".
"Potentially I could get terminated, which means that there's no more playing contract and therefore no more finances or money coming in," he said from the lectern.
"It would be the first time it has happened to me in my life.
"All the materialistic things I have been able to have over the last number of years are slowly being taken away from me.
"It's been really challenging but also it's been encouraging to myself to see what my God is actually doing."
It's understood Super Rugby's all-time leading try-scorer would have been allowed to resume playing again had he agreed to take down his latest controversial post.
"There have been many opportunities to potentially make the situation a little bit easier. I could go back and play the game, get everything back to the way it used to be," Folau said.
"The way Satan works is he offers you stuff that could look good to the eye and makes you feel comfortable, and if you follow that path all the worries and troubles will go away.
"(But) it is always the will of God that comes first."
NSW Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson admits it will be a sad day for rugby if Folau is sacked.
Gibson has coached Folau, or been an assistant to former Waratahs coach Michael Cheika, since the code hopper joined the 15-man game in 2013.
While opting against predicting what sanction awaits Folau, Gibson on Tuesday expressed a sense of regret that the whole affair had escalated so dramatically to a point of seemingly no return for the dual international.
It was barely a month ago that Folau became Super Rugby's all-time leading try-scorer after crossing for his 60th five-pointer for the Waratahs against the Blues in Auckland.
"Obviously I think he's an incredible talent. That's probably what's been lost in this, is the fact potentially he's going to be lost to the code," said Gibson, adding that he expected several of Folau's NSW teammates to reach out, and even visit the suspended star, to support him.
"Israel is still a teammate. We still care for him and that will continue.
"There is still a range of options still on the table for him and we'll learn his fate this week."
- with AAP