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Published: 10:19 | 14/6/19

Cheika: The team is king


Australia head coach Michael Cheika has described Israel Folau's sacking as unfortunate but he insists the 'team is king'.

Folau's contract with Rugby Australia was terminated after a code of conduct hearing into homophobic comments he made on social media.

Prior to his sacking, Cheika had warned that he would not select Folau after he took to social media to warn  'drunks homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators. Hell awaits you. Repent! Only Jesus saves.".

The full-back, who has played in 73 Tests for the Wallabies, had been expected to be a key member of Cheika's squad for the World Cup, but the former Leinster coach admits he had little choice but to put the team first.

“One thing I’ve learnt here is the team is king,” said Cheika. “The only thing for me is the team has to concentrate on the game.

“Focus has to be on winning the next game, or the World Cup or the Bledisloe Cup or the things that our fans want, the things that we want.

“And once that focus is not there completely, you have to make the sacrifices to make that the number one focus.

“It’s just about the team is the most important thing and anything that can distract a team from achieving its goals, you have to deal with one way or another.

“Not always this way ... it is unfortunate how it ended up but something had to give in that situation.”

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