'It disgusts me' - Brad Weber slams Israel Folau over controversial comments about gay people

One-Test All Black and Chiefs halfback Brad Weber has fired off a barrage of "disgust" at Israel Folau over his comments directed at gay people.

Folau caused uproar last month after he commented on an Instagram post saying that God's plan for gay people was "Hell, unless they repent of their sins and turn to God".

It's a stance Weber admitted on Twitter last night he was "kinda sick" of.

"I can't stand that I have to play this game that I love with people, like Folau, who say what he's saying," Weber posted.

"My cousin and her partner, and my Aunty and her partner are some of the most kind, caring and loving people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

"To think that I play against someone that says they'll go to Hell for being gay disgusts me."

When someone replied to Weber stating Folau was entitled to express his opinion, the 27-year-old had his answer ready.

MP Louisa Wall urged the Wallabies star to think about his comments. Source: 1 NEWS

"Yep. But so am I. And my opinion of his is one that disgusts me."

Since making the comment, Folau has met with Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle to discuss his use of social media.

The former Aussie Rules star also wrote a column to better explain his stance and unwavering belief, saying he was ready to quit his rugby contract because his religion came first.

"I told Raelene if she felt the situation had become untenable - that I was hurting Rugby Australia, its sponsors and the Australian rugby community to such a degree that things couldn't be worked through - I would walk away from my contract, immediately," Folau wrote.

But Castle said there wasn't a need for such drastic measures.

"In his article, Israel clearly articulated his religious beliefs and why his faith is important to him and has provided context behind his social media comment," she said.

"In his own words, Israel said that he did not intend to upset people intentionally or bring hurt to the game.

"We accept Israel's position."

Chiefs' Brad Weber, dejected following their loss during the Investec Super Rugby Semi-Final match, Hurricanes v Chiefs at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand. 30th July 2016. © Copyright Photo: Grant Down / www.photosport.nz
Chiefs' Brad Weber. Source: Photosport


Most read: Meet the Kiwi farmer who went from being a Black Fern to becoming the first female to ref a men's first-class game

This story was first published on Tuesday September 18

Former Black Fern Rebecca Mahoney may have made history when she became the first woman to referee a men’s first-class rugby match last weekend, but she’s shaking off the milestone.

"It's not about who you are or where you're from or what your gender is, it's just hard work and a bit of training."

The 35-year-old has been around rugby most of her life, having won two World Cups before trading in her No.10 jersey for the whistle.

That experience came in handy on Saturday in Te Aroha when she officiated her first Mitre 10 Heartland Championship game between King Country and Thames Valley.

"To see women ref out there, there's no problems," Thames Valley captain Alex Bradley said after the game.

"They take control - probably better than some of the men."

But it’s not just her experience from the game that helps her.

Mahoney says farm life in Eketahuna plays an important role too.

"I'm extremely challenged to hit a standard that most of the boys can hit quite easily, and that's not going to change - genetics aren’t going to change that," she said.

"It’s just a lot of hard work that's going to have to go into it."

History shows the rural lifestyle has gone hand in hand with rugby's greatest figures – take Sir Colin Meads as a prime example.

Women have officiated men in Tests between developing nations but nothing close to the intensity of first-class New Zealand domestic rugby.

While Mahoney doesn’t think she’ll ever officiate the All Blacks, she’s happy knowing the path is a little bit closer.



John Mitchell leaves Bulls for defence coach role with England under Eddie Jones - report

Former All Blacks coach John Mitchell has reportedly finalised a deal to join Eddie Jones as England's new defence coach.

ON THE MOVE: John Mitchell

South African newspaper Die Burger reports Mitchell has been released from his Super Rugby head coaching role at the Bulls after the Rugby Football Union agreed to pay a transfer fee.

The fee reportedly sat between NZ$300,000 and $450,000.

Mitchell will now assist Jones as the team looks to turn around their recent form in time for next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Former Springboks captain Victor Matfield, who played 140 matches for the Bulls, has been rumoured as a possible replacement for Mitchell.

Under Mitchell, the Bulls finished 12th in this year's competition after losing 10 of their 16 games.



First woman to ref a men's first-class rugby match reflects on journey - 'I wasn't sure it was achievable'

Former Black Fern Rebecca Mahoney achieved a milestone for woman in rugby over the weekend when she became the first female referee to officiate a men's first-class game, but she admits she once thought it may have never been possible.

Mahoney, who played 16 matches for the Black Ferns before transitioning to refereeing, was put in charge of Saturday's Mitre 10 Heartland Championship match between Thames Valley and King Country.

"Thames Valley was a fantastic host union for me," she said.

"Just a nice, small, heartland union to get me my first game which was pretty special... the boys were good and it was a really good game."

ONN 1 News at 6 promo image
For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

The 35-year-old said she decided to take up the whistle after realising the women's game was growing.

"I'm really proud that I've achieved what I set out to achieve.

"Three years ago, I set the goal of wanting to referee men's first-class rugby and at the time, I wasn't sure if it was achievable.

"But I've had faith put in me and really enjoyed it."

Rebecca Mahoney controlled a Heartland Championship match between Thames Valley and King Country. Source: 1 NEWS


Opinion: Sorry Beauden, but Brodie Retallick is the best rugby player on the planet

If there's one thing to take away from the All Blacks' shock 36-34 defeat to the Springboks in Wellington on Saturday, it's that New Zealand are by far and away a worse side without Brodie Retallick packing down in the second row.

Having limped off during the opening stages of the 46-24 win over Argentina in Nelson the week before, Retallick's absence was felt by the All Blacks, as South Africa sealed their first win on Kiwi soil since 2009.

All Blacks flanker Cane made the remarks teammate Retallick on Sunday. Source: 1 NEWS

After missing last year's end of year tour after a personal tragedy, Retallick returned to the black jersey like a duck to water at the start of the 2018 Rugby Championship against the Wallabies in Sydney, putting in one of the most dominant individual displays, not just by a lock, but by any All Black in recent memory.

He then backed that up a week later at Eden Park, putting in another demolition job against a shell shocked Australian side, helping the All Blacks lock the Bledisloe Cup away for yet another year.

However, a sternum injury suffered in Nelson against Argentina will see him miss the end of the current Rugby Championship campaign, and in a worst case scenario, could be in doubt for this year's end of year tour too.

The All Blacks prop is set to bring up his 100th Test cap, but has yet to score a try in his international career. Source: 1 NEWS

Stats never lie, and the All Blacks' numbers with and without Retallick prove just how much of an impact one player can have on such a star-studded side.

With him in the side in the 2018 Rugby Championship alone, the All Blacks have scored 78 points, conceding 25. Without him, they've scored 80 but conceded 70.

Away from the All Blacks, Retallick's abilities are made clear as well. Before Retallick, the Chiefs had never won a Super Rugby title. With him, they claimed the trophy two seasons in a row back in 2012 and 2013.

Simply put, any team is worse without Retallick in the 23, this isn't just about last weekend's loss to South Africa either.

With the exception of the second Test against the Lions in Wellington last year, all of the All Blacks' shock losses in recent times have come when Retallick is out of the side.

Beauden Barrett said Scott wouldn’t see it as being unlucky to play in the same era as the two world-class locks. Source: 1 NEWS

Against Ireland in Chicago back in 2016 is a prime example. Retallick was probably the most notable absentee - and what happened? The Irish managed to claim their first ever win over the All Blacks, coming away victors 40-29.

Sir Colin Meads retired from playing long before I was born, but there is no way he could have been as influential on a side as Brodie Retallick is at the moment.

Devastating at the breakdown, a force in the lineout, and now seemingly possessing the ability of a back when it comes to open play, Retallick has truly become the ultimate rugby player under the tutelage of Steve Hansen - and thankfully for Kiwi fans, he doesn't look like chasing the Euro any time soon.

The forwards are encouraging NZ to get behind their new trend. Source: 1 NEWS

He may not have the star power of the likes of a Beauden Barrett or a Sonny Bill Williams, but Brodie Retallick's impact on Steve Hansen's All Blacks side cannot be underestimated.

The All Blacks' lock asserted his dominance against the Wallabies last month. Source: 1 NEWS