RA stands by settlement but says Folau's reported $8m ‘wildly inaccurate’_1


Rugby Australia is standing by its "commercial decision" to settle a legal dispute with sacked Wallabies star Israel Folau rather than going to court next year.

RA's chief executive Raelene Castle told reporters on Thursday the organisation "didn't back down" but rather it ensured the cost was less than going to a trial and gave the national body certainty.

Ms Castle earlier dismissed a reported settlement figure of $8 million on Twitter, describing the amount as "wildly inaccurate", adding RA won't have to make changes to the budget or take money away from community rugby to pay Folau.

Folau had been seeking $14 million in compensation after lodging an unfair dismissal claim against the sporting body following his sacking eight months ago.

"Folau settlement numbers are confidential but numbers being speculated are wildly inaccurate," she tweeted on Thursday.

Folau was dumped over a controversial series of Instagram posts, one of which read: "Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolators: Hell Awaits You. Repent! Only Jesus Saves." They were deemed homophobic and breaches of his RA contract.



Folau's case was being spun as a fight for religious freedom and the athlete on Wednesday backed federal government plans for a bill to protect such freedoms.

The legislation was to have been debated in the federal parliament this year but has been delayed until 2020 after being criticised by religious leaders.

"With today's acknowledgement and apology by Rugby Australia, we have been vindicated and can now move on with our lives to focus on our faith and our family," Folau said in a video posted on his website with his wife Maria by his side.

"We now look forward to the federal government enacting the legislation necessary to further protect and strengthen these rights for all Australians."

Meanwhile, RA and NSW Rugby said the fact the case was settled did not "in any way" mean they agreed with the content of Folau's posts.

"Inclusiveness is one of Rugby's core values and it welcomes all people to the game, including all members of the LGBTI community," the joint statement said.

"Mr Folau did not intend to hurt or harm the game of rugby and acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused."

-with AAP