Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has revealed he was personally threatened by Australian fans, following the Israel Folau saga earlier this year.
Following Folau's social media scandal earlier this year, where he said homosexuals will go to hell unless they repent, the Wallabies fullback saw his Rugby Australia contract terminated.
The saga caused a rift among rugby fans across both sides of the Tasman, with the issue of free speech versus hate speech raised by those supporting Folau.
Having made the decision not to select Folau even if he kept his Rugby Australia contract, coach Cheika says that he was personally threatened by supporters of the embattled star, telling the Sydney Morning Herald:
"People were saying all sorts of stuff," Cheika said.
"Just threats I was getting; people on the street, some to my face, a couple at some games. It was just crazy stuff."
As a result, Cheika and the Wallabies are without Folau for the upcoming Rugby World Cup in Japan. However the Wallabies' coach stands by the action taken.
"The other disappointing part is that we lost one of our best players; a guy who I helped come back.
"I wouldn't say I'm responsible for what's happened. It's just life. But I had to do what was needed for the team."
The Wallabies open their Rugby World Cup campaign against Fiji in Sapporo on September 21.