Waratahs halfback Nick Phipps has hit out at Israel Folau's social media outbursts, suggesting that the now sacked star's saga has derailed his side's 2019 campaign.
After Folau's contract was terminated by Rugby Australia, following his second social media controversy in a year, the Waratahs have lacked firepower in Super Rugby, recently falling to a 35-24 defeat to the Brumbies.
Sitting third in the Australian conference and 12th overall, the Waratahs are still mathematically in the running for a finals spot, however that is looking unlikely, with just two wins in their last six matches.
Appearing on Channel Nine after his side's loss to the Brumbies, Phipps spoke of his disappointment at the way the situation unfolded.
"Disappointed in the way way he decided to reflect those views. He can have those views, that's fine, everyone's allowed to have their own opinions," Phipps said.
"It's not something that the majority of us share but the way that it came out and the way that it's happened twice now is disappointing.
"We wanted to be making finals at the Waratahs this year and we haven't really been given that opportunity to make it."
"I'm extremely disappointed in the stance [Folau] has taken but it's obviously something that's very important to him and I can't speak for the rest of the group. But there's a lot of players disappointed in the way it's all gone down."
The Waratahs finish their regular season with a trip to Dunedin to face the Highlanders, needing a bonus point win and other results going their way to have a chance at making this year's playoffs.
Folau meanwhile, is seeking AUS $10m from Rugby Australia, having lodged an unfair dismissal claim with the Fair Work Commission against his former employers.