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Australia's Folau says 'hell awaits' homosexuals

The deeply religious fullback sparked uproar last year with a similar tirade when he said God's plan for gay people was hell unless they repented their sins.

Australia's Israel Folau. Picture: AFP

SYDNEY, Australia - Wallabies superstar Israel Folau looked headed for another showdown with Rugby Australia Wednesday after posting on social media that "hell awaits" homosexuals.

The deeply religious fullback, one of the sport's most marketable players, sparked uproar last year with a similar tirade, when he said God's plan for gay people was hell unless they repented their sins.

He then tweeted a link to a video opposing same-sex marriage by late American evangelist David Wilkerson.

Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle grilled him on the issue at the time and the organisation distanced itself from his views as it walked a fine line between freedom of expression and its commitment to inclusiveness.

But he escaped sanction and recently signed a lucrative new deal.

Despite being urged to keep his views to himself, a defiant Folau made clear he would not be backing away from his staunch religious beliefs regarding homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

And the devout Christian, who last weekend became Super Rugby's all-time top try-scorer, re-ignited the controversy on Wednesday evening on his Instagram account.

He put up a banner that said "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators - Hell awaits you." It added that they should "repent" as "only Jesus saves".

"Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him," Folau wrote in an accompanying message.

In the wake of last year's scandal, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika refused to criticise Folau and said youngsters should find another idol if they don't agree with their sporting heroes.

Fellow Wallaby David Pocock, a strong advocate of marriage equality, said at the time Folau's outspoken views would not affect harmony within the national team.