Israel Folau to make rugby union return after signing contract with Japan club Shining Arcs

Israel Folau has played 73 Tests for Australia between 2013 and 2018
Israel Folau has played 73 Tests for Australia between 2013 and 2018

Former Australia international Israel Folau will make a return to rugby union after signing a contract with Japanese club NTT Communications Shining Arcs.

Folau, who started his career with rugby league made a switch to the union in 2013 when he was signed by New South Wales Waratahs and in the same year he went on to make his international debut for Australia. With 73 Test caps to his name, Folau played for the Wallabies between 2013 and 2018 and was part of their squad during the 2015 World Cup.

His Rugby Australia and Super Rugby contracts were terminated following his controversial social media post that read "Warning. Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators. Hell awaits you. Repent! Only Jesus saves" in 2019.

With his playing career coming to a halt temporarily, Folau was handed a lifeline as he returned back to rugby league after signing a deal with Catalans Dragons.

The 32-year-old played 15 matches for the club last season but has returned back to Australia after the French club released him from the contract for 'a personal family situation'.

"Catalans Dragons can confirm Israel Folau will be released from the remainder of his contract with immediate effect." read the statement from Catalans.

"He signed a one-year contract extension for 2021 but announced to the club early this year his decision to stay in Australia for a personal family situation."

Folau will now reunite with his former coach at the New South Wales Waratahs Rob Penney, who was appointed the director of rugby of NTT Communications Shining Arcs.