'We will not engage in a running media commentary' - Rugby Australia hits back at Israel Folau over alleged leaks
Rugby Australia has defended its "professionalism and integrity" in the wake of further criticism from former international Israel Folau.
The 30-year-old, who has instigated legal action against the governing body in the wake of his national team contract being terminated over homophobic comments he posted on social media, issued a strongly-worded e-mail to the organisation's directors.
In it, Folau once again questioned the circumstances of his dismissal, and demanded answers over how and why details of his misconduct hearing were leaked to the media.
In his e-mail, which was acquired and published by the Australian Daily Telegraph, Folau accused Rugby Australia of failing "to maintain the integrity and process", and of "lies" and unfair treatment.
In a statement, the governing body responded: "Rugby Australia has acted with complete professionalism and integrity at all times through the process in which Mr Folau was found by an independent three-member tribunal panel to have made multiple, serious breaches of the Professional Players Code of Conduct.
"While we will continue to respond to any legal action as required and will continue to defend the values that underpin our game and the work done by the hard working volunteers, we will not engage in a running media commentary."
Folau was banned after a series of controversial tweets but has repeatedly defended his right to publicise his religious beliefs, and is demanding damages reportedly in the region of 10 million Australian dollars.
In his e-mail, Folau wrote: "I would like an explanation as to why recent detailed media articles about me have revealed aspects of confidential sworn testimony and witness statements from the Rugby Australia Code of Conduct Tribunal.
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"This is blatantly unfair. As you know, the Tribunal hearing must be closed and private, and Rugby Australia was obliged to keep all information confidential."