Published: Tue, February 18, 2020
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Supporters Asked To Remove Rainbow Flag During Folau's Catalan Debut

Supporters Asked To Remove Rainbow Flag During Folau's Catalan Debut

Israel Folau's try-scoring debut for the Catalans Dragons on Saturday was enough to make plenty of headlines but those were not just limited to his performance on the pitch.

A Hull spokesman said ahead of the March 1 match: "We have nothing against pride flags in general".

But during the match, a security official asked a fan to remove a rainbow Pride flag that was draped over a railing, appearing to suggest that it was covering up some of the advertising hoarding in the French stadium. It is not forbidden. We are gathering more information.

His signing by the Dragons sparked outrage within the rugby league community, with Super League executive chairman Robert Elstone calling it a "sad day" for the competition.

"We were told by about five people [who] came to us and told us were weren't allowed to have the flags", one woman fan told Sky Sports.

"When we said there are other flags on the ground, they gave up".

Super League clubs have unanimously voted to prevent teams from making controversial signings following the furore over Israel Folau's move to Catalans. "Then they came back to us later and said it was contrary to the opinions of the club that we had the flags".

Coach Steve McNamara would not be drawn on the matters in his post-match press conference.

The former England boss said: "I am here to talk about football, not political or religious views or whatever else it might be".

"It's a big chance for me because I didn't think I would play rugby league again and discover France and its culture". "That is what I know, that is what I do, not any of the other stuff".

There was a bumper group at the Stade Gilbert Brutus in Perpignan for Folau's Super League launching, complying with weeks of dispute over the club's choice to bring the previous Australia rugby union global over to Europe.

He managed to get his Super League debut out of the way amid only minor controversy as he helped Catalans to a 36-18 win over Castleford in Perpignan.

A Maloney penalty in front of the posts on 24 minutes put the Dragons back on track and 10 minutes from half-time Sam Tomkins fielded a high kick 10m from his own line, found Fouad Yaha who raced 60m and released Samisoni Langi for a stunning try.

"Everybody should have the right to respectfully express their views".

"We will receive a full report by the end of this weekend and have more details on Monday".

Some fans said they welcomed his presence in the game but Dragons have faced strong criticism from fellow Super League clubs, with talks of boycotts and protests, after signing the 30-year-old, who had been fired by Rugby Australia over anti-LGBT+ comments he made on social media.

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