Australia rugby star Israel Folau who said ‘gays can go to hell’ under pressure to wear rainbow laces

ISRAEL FOLAU will come under huge pressure to wear rainbow laces against England — despite posting homophobic abuse on social media.

The controversial Australia full-back wrote that ‘gays can go to hell’ back in April and defended that comment before threatening to quit rugby.

 Israel Folau warms up for England as rugby chiefs wait to see if he will wear rainbow laces at Twickenham on Saturday

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Israel Folau warms up for England as rugby chiefs wait to see if he will wear rainbow laces at Twickenham on Saturday

Aussie boss Michael Cheika has refused to strong-arm his players into wearing the rainbow laces at Twickenham tomorrow.

But all eyes will be on Wallaby Folau, 29, with the international rugby community uniting in tribute to former Wales captain Gareth Thomas.

Thomas, 44, who came out as gay in 2009, was the victim of a homophobic attack last weekend in Cardiff.

The entire Wales team will wear the laces against South Africa, as will France against Fiji, but England boss Eddie Jones is leaving it down to the individuals.

 Wallabies full-back Israel Folau has posted homophobic abuse on social media and defended his comments

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Wallabies full-back Israel Folau has posted homophobic abuse on social media and defended his comments
 Many eyes will be on Israel Folau to see if he wears rainbow laces as a mark of respect and protest after Gareth Thomas was abused

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Many eyes will be on Israel Folau to see if he wears rainbow laces as a mark of respect and protest after Gareth Thomas was abused

Aussie No 8 David Pocock is a staunch anti-homophobia campaigner and refused to legally marry partner Emma Palandri until same-sex marriage was legalised in Australia.

But Cheika said: “Some of the players have done that before but that will be an individual choice for the players.

“Whether it is that or for another cause, there is the opportunity for players to do things they believe in at all times.”

 Waratahs' Israel Folau angered many with his homophobic abuse on social media

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Waratahs' Israel Folau angered many with his homophobic abuse on social media

Meanwhile, Cheika has rejected claims by England defence coach John Mitchell that a bug in the camp was mind games.

Ten players and staff, including Folau and Bernard Foley, picked up a stomach illness in Italy last week.

Cheika added: “He can come round to my bathroom and there is no doubt that it is not mind games. But we will be good for Saturday.”

ISRAEL FOLAU will come under huge pressure to wear rainbow laces against England — despite posting homophobic abuse on social media.