Israel Folau: Sacked Australia star returns to rugby league with Tonga

Israel Folau poised to make rugby league return with Mate Ma'a Tonga

Israel Folau poised to make rugby league return with Mate Ma'a Tonga

Folau is now in the midst of a legal battle over that decision, but will play rugby league in the meantime, with Mate Ma'a Tonga set to play Great Britain in Hamilton on October 26, before meeting Australia at Eden Park on November 2.

The Tonga National Rugby League released a statement on Monday to say the former Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos player and his younger brother John had made themselves available for Mate Ma'a Tonga this autumn.

Folau, 30, who played for the Wallabies against the rugby union Lions in 2013, is now locked in a legal battle with Rugby Australia over his sacking in May for posting homophobic comments on social media.

'I don't want to bring any of my personal matters into this and I am grateful that the [ Rugby League International Federation] have endorsed my availability, ' Folau said in a statement.

Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter Beattie has previously shut the door on any attempt by Folau to return to the NRL.

Folau played professional Australian Rules and rugby league before switching to rugby union where he represented the New South Wales Waratahs in Super Rugby, almost 100 times and played 62 matches for Australia.

The Christian footballer is now locked in a legal battle with Rugby Australia and is suing for $10millon in damages, including a $5.7million payout for the remainder of his lucrative $4million contract.

The Australian Federal Circuit Court last month encouraged Folau and RA to settle through mediation until December but if that fails, the case will be heard in court in February next year.

Former Wigan, Widnes and New Zealand boss Frank Endacott has been appointed as Wolf's successor and he said he was thrilled at the prospect of coaching the Folau brothers.

"These guys are great footballers and bring size, pace and skill to the team".

"We are an inclusive game with respect for all". Israel has social media posts online that go against what our game stands for, ' he said earlier this year.

Folau, the husband of Silver Ferns star Maria Folau, said the ongoing dispute between the players and board shouldn't stop the players from representing Tonga. "They will make a huge impact in the team and provide exciting attack options all over the park", he said. "This is great for the game".

"As it stands, he will not be considered for registration".

"It is good to see the IRLF approving these players for internationals".