On the weekend Israel Folau found out that he is, in fact, replaceable.

Since the May 17 sacking of Israel Folau by Rugby Australia, there’s been a nervous energy amongst fans of the game.

How will the Wallabies replace the irreplaceable?

Folau has been touted as the best player on the team, and quite possibly even one of the best players in the world.

But no matter how good you are with a rugby ball, it doesn’t give you a free pass to post derogatory and homophobic posts on social media saying that “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators” would go to hell unless they repented.

Israel Folau speaks to Alan Jones. Post continues after video.

Video by Sky

Rugby Australia (rightly so) showed Folau the door and tore up his $4 million dollar contract when he refused to take back or remove the remarks, but there’s no doubt that Folau’s absence left a gaping big hole in the Wallabies’ backline.

In the weeks since Folau’s sacking, coach Michael Cheika has been scrambling to show that his team will be fighting fit for the World Cup in September, assuring they’ll be fine – they just need to play with more teamwork.

“One thing I have learnt [from the Folau saga] is that team is king,” he said, during a Rugby meet in Sydney.

But others weren’t so sure.

“If you’re an international side, let’s face it, you’re not scared witless by an outfit without Israel Folau,” wrote Andrew Slack for the Sunday Mail. 

“They’ll be less of a threat aerially without him,” remarked Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus.

And he was right, South Africa thrashed us in the Rugby Championships in July, taking home a 35-17 win. We only just scraped a win out of Argentina in our next game with a 16-10 victory.

South Africa v Australia - 2019 Rugby Championship
The Springboks were our first game without Folau and we were thrashed. Image: Getty.

But that was just the warm up. The Aussies and the Kiwis have been bracing themselves for the first of two Bledisloe Cup matches, a tradition and a fierce rivalry that's been in place since 1931.

Before Saturday there was a quiet confidence New Zealand would win. Perth's stadium was a sea of black jerseys, as Kiwis made the trip across the ditch to cheer their side to victory. They have, after all, had a 17-year grip on the cup.

Assistant Coach Ian Foster made the comment that the side would "find their form" in Perth. He wasn't worried about the Aussies - especially an Aussie side without their star player.

If you checked the odds prior to the match the Wallabies weren't even in with a chance, they were $5.00 on both Ladbrokes and Sportsbet, while the All Blacks were at $1.17 and $1.28 respectively.

The Unravelling of Israel Folau. Post continues after podcast.

But on the weekend, Australia didn't just put one hand on the Bledisloe Cup. They absolutely knocked it out of the park with a 47-26 thumping.

It's the most points Australia has scored against New Zealand in test match history.

"There was a player missing... I can't remember, what was his name? Is it Israel? What happened to that bloke?" former Wallaby Peter FitzSimons said on Sports Sunday.


In the lounge room I was in Saturday night, the cheers from the room as the full time buzzer blew weren't just elation for Australia - they were cheers of relief.

Relief that Australia proved they didn't need a player with Folau's views.

The Wallabies didn't need Folau, their star player, in Saturday night's Bledisloe Cup clash with the All Blacks. Image: Getty.

Yes, the All Blacks were dealt a blow when their forward Scott Barrett was red carded in the first half (which, if you've got a Kiwi in your life - they'll be shouting into your eardrums today to justify their loss). But it doesn't take away from the Australian effort nonetheless.

We haven't had the cup for 17 years.

Even with Folau on board we were the underdogs in this rivalry, but to manage such a standout win without him?

That's the very definition of karma.

It just goes to show everyone is replaceable.

Read More:

Israel Folau has freedom of speech. But he doesn't have freedom from consequences.

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