New Zealand rugby stars in a screen grab from the diversity ad.
New Zealand rugby stars in a screen grab from the diversity ad.

All Blacks at loggerheads with Folau over formidable ‘enemy’

THE All Blacks and Black Ferns have made it clear they strongly disagree with Wallabies star Israel Folau when it comes to inclusiveness and diversity.

The two teams have released a sponsored video, made last year, called "Diversity Is Strength" in which they state their next "battle" lies with a devious and formidable "enemy".

"It is discrimination - an enemy that cannot be fought alone and must be defeated together.

"It will take more than 15 - it will take thousands - millions".

The video shows the teams at a stadium in Japan with a diverse set of fans cheering them on, including some holding rainbow flags. The fabric of their black tops is multi-coloured when pulled.

The release of the video comes after Folau this month answered an Instagram user by declaring gay people were headed for "HELL ... unless they repent of their sins and turn to God".

Rugby Australia opted not to sanction Folau for his comments but individual New Zealand players, such as Brad Weber and TJ Perenara, have condemned the comments.

Israel Folau has been criticised for his controversial anti-gay views.
Israel Folau has been criticised for his controversial anti-gay views.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew told TVNZ's Breakfast program the organisation had made a call after some difficult moments two to three years ago "that we could actually be at the forefront of societal change".

He said the response by those who chose to comment on Folau's position, including Sir Michael Jones, was done really well and "we didn't need everyone jumping into the conversation".

Wallabies star Israel Folau is still facing backlash over his anti-gay comments.
Wallabies star Israel Folau is still facing backlash over his anti-gay comments.

He said NZ Rugby really liked the advertisement.

"The key thing is that we walk the talk isn't it, that we do present rugby from the community level right to the high end - the lead athletes - as a welcoming and inclusive sport.

"We are launching a thing called The Rugby Way, which we hope will give people a framework for our behaviour in any context, whether it's the way we respond to a referee, the way we respond to someone with a different ethnicity or religious beliefs and that is a respectful and inclusive way".



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