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Israel Folau to revive rugby career in Japanese Top League

Israel Folau will return to rugby in 2022 after signing with Japanese Top League club NTT Communications Shining Arcs.

The code-hopper, who was recently cleared to play rugby league for Southport Tigers on the Gold Coast, was unveiled as one of the Arcs' new signings on Monday. Folau will play under sacked Waratahs coach Rob Penney, who has returned to the club as director of rugby.

Folau had been playing for Catalans Dragons in the Super League last year, but returned home at the end of 2020 and later had to seek a release to be eligible to play for Southport.

That was granted last week, with the Queensland Rugby League [QRL] then officially clearing the way for Folau's Southport debut.

"As previously stated, the QRL board has carefully considered all aspects of the registration request, in line with its current rules and processes," a QRL statement read.

"The QRL made clear from the outset that Mr Folau would be registered upon completion of the registration process, including the obtaining of a release from his previous overseas club, as per the rules of the game which apply to all players.

"This has today been forthcoming with authorisation from the game's international body, meaning the QRL has now been able to finalise his registration with the Southport Tigers."

Folau has not played rugby since he was sacked by Rugby Australia in 2019 following anti-gay social media posts.

The veteran Test fullback then sued the governing body for wrongful dismissal, with the two parties later reaching a financial settlement. through mediation.

Folau will be joined at NTT by Maori All Blacks and Blues No.10 Otere Black.