Rugby Rugby

All Blacks champion diversity as Folau anti-gay row rumbles

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Australia’s fullback Israel Folau commented on social media that God’s plan for gay people was hell unless they repent their sins © AFP/File / Patrick HAMILTON

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Apr 24 – New Zealand Rugby have released an anti-discrimination video celebrating diversity as the fallout from Wallabies star Israel Folau’s anti-gay comments continues.

Filmed last year and tweeted by the All Blacks on Monday, the video features All Black stars and their female counterparts, the Black Ferns, promoting a message of inclusion with the hashtag #diversityisstrength.

“The next battle is different. The next enemy is truly formidable and deeply devious,” a voiceover says as members of the men’s and women’s teams line up in a stadium in Japan.

“It is discrimination –- an enemy that cannot be fought alone and must be defeated together. It will take more than 15 -– it will take thousands, millions.”

In the video, fans wave rainbow flags, the players’ black jerseys show similar colours when they are stretched and a jet trails multi-coloured streams over the stadium.

It was shot long before Folau’s social media comments that God’s plan for gay people was hell unless they repent their sins, but will be seen as a timely reinforcement of the response by New Zealand players to the Australian Test back’s controversial remarks.

All Blacks backs TJ Perenara and Brad Weber both spoke out in support of the gay community, with coach Steve Hansen saying he was proud of their stance.

Perenara and some of his Waikato Chiefs teammates wore rainbow laces during Saturday’s win over the Queensland Reds in Brisbane in the Super Rugby competition.

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