Israel Folau is "exploring his options" after his multi-million dollar contract was terminated by Rugby Australia [RA] on Friday afternoon.
Folau released a statement in response to his sacking roughly two hours after RA boss Raelene Castle fronted a packed media conference in Sydney to confirm the end of his six-year stint in Australian rugby.
The Wallabies star had last week been found guilty of committing a high-level breach of RA's Code of Conduct, which is clearly outlined in each player contract the governing body registers, for his controversial social media posts that declared homosexuals, along with drunks, fornicators and adulterers, among others, would go to hell unless they repented.
"Israel Folau has been issued a sanction for a high level breach of the players' Code of Conduct," she said.
"When players sign a contract with the Wallabies they sign up to the team and the sport. Israel is a great rugby player and we are disappointed and saddened he won't see out his four-year contract commitment to the Wallabies and Waratahs.
"But our position remains that we have no choice but to pursue the action that has resulted in today's outcome.
"This is a decision that will change the landscape of sport across Australia and perhaps internationally."
Folau's Code of Conduct hearing ran over three days and lasted more than 22 hours while the panel then took 10 days before handing down its sanction on Friday. Folau has 72 hours to appeal his contract termination, but has already taken to Twitter to suggest the fight may be far from over.
"It has been a privilege and an honour to represent Australia and my home state of New South Wales, playing the game I love," Folau said.
"I am deeply saddened by today's decision to terminate my employment and am considering my options.
"As Australians, we are born with certain rights, including the right to freedom of expression. The Christian faith has always been a part of my life and I believe it is my duty as a Christian to share God's word. Upholding my religious beliefs should not prevent my ability to work or play for my club and country."
Folau also paid tribute to wife, Maria, and those who "have spoken out in my defence, some of whom do not share my beliefs but have defended my right to express them."
The panel deliberated for 10 days after first finding Folau guilty of the breach late on May 7th, meaning that by the time the sanction was finally revealed on Friday the entire saga had been running for over six weeks.
But Castle defended the length of time the panel had taken to come to a decision, again reinforcing its magnitude for the entire Australian sporting landscape.
"It's certainly not ideal, but Mr Folau knew that when he pressed that button, that that was the implications that post was going to have," she said.
"What I can say about the process is that we did have Easter and ANZAC Day which was less than ideal. But this was a decision that will change the landscape for sport across Australia and perhaps internationally; the tribunal were the best possible experts in this field that we could bring together, to put together, and they have spent a lot of time to ensure that they got this right because it will be landmark and it was important.
"And it's a big decision, he was an important player and he has been for a long period of time, and we wanted to make sure we took the time to get this right."
While Folau may yet appeal his contract termination or choose to take the fight straight to the Supreme Court in a bid to rescue a chunk of the $[Aus]4 million he has now lost, Castle said a reported $1million peace offering was never seriously on the table.
"I think in any of these situations the lawyers have sensible and pragmatic conversations to see if they can find a way whereby we don't end up in this situation; or we find a way as you would with any high-profile contract of any high-profile employee that was in this situation, the lawyers would have a sensible and pragmatic conversation," she said.
"But they never advanced to a stage whereby they could be brought to Rugby Australia for our consideration."
Folau's now former-Waratahs teammates are in action against the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday, while Wallabies coach Michael Cheika will have the chance to address an extended Test squad at a pre-World Cup training camp the following day.
Asked about potential disharmony within Cheika's squad and the coach's ability to bring together a unified Wallabies team for the World Cup, Castle said: "I am 100 percent confident [they will be united], and I'm confident because those players understand that everyone has the right to their own views and their religious beliefs. And as long as they continue to express them in a respectful way, we will continue to support them.
"And I have absolute confidence that Michael Cheika is going to build a Wallaby team that will be incredibly competitive at the Rugby World Cup."