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'The team is king': Cheika says he won't pick Folau again for Wallabies

Sydney Morning Herald logo Sydney Morning Herald 6 days ago Georgina Robinson
a man wearing sunglasses taking a selfie in a car: Moving on: Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is now planning for the World Cup without Israel Folau © AAP Moving on: Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is now planning for the World Cup without Israel Folau

The Waratahs and Wallabies have lost patience with Israel Folau, with captain Michael Hooper admitting it would be "difficult" to take the field alongside him and coach Michael Cheika saying he would not pick him again in the wake of the fullback's second controversial outing on social media.

With Folau suspended from all playing duties pending disciplinary procedures and nowhere to be seen at Waratahs headquarters on Monday morning, Hooper and Cheika were left to front the media alongside a disappointed NSW coach Daryl Gibson.

Hooper took a long pause and appeared to buy himself some thinking time when asked whether he would be "comfortable taking the field" with Folau again before answering: "Like was said before, in this current state and being here and talking about this as a rugby player, it makes it hard, it makes it difficult."

His comments were echoed by Cheika, who said the team had to come first and for that reason, he would not pick Folau.

"I think as it stands right now, considering what I just said you wouldn’t be able to," Cheika said.

Gibson expressed his "disappointment" that the team was in the same situation as last year, when Folau made similar comments and escaped official sanction.

"[I am] disappointed in the fact that we're here again, second year running that we're fronting up around an issue that on a large extent we'd settled and the impact that it has on the team," he said.

"I think last year the team responded very well in the circumstance. This is not new ground for us and it's something we're going to have to do again."

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