Rugby union - is the practice and expression of religious beliefs compatible with professional playing obligations?

Published 16 August 2019 By: Jonathan Collins

Rugby Players

The decision by Israel Folau to contest the termination of his employment contract by Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Rugby Union has brought into focus the potential conflict between a professional sportsperson’s right to express and practice their religious beliefs, and the simultaneous obligations they owe to their employer (whether express or implied) to conduct themselves in a manner that does not bring their sport or team into disrepute.

The purpose of this article is to examine instances in rugby union where the religious beliefs of players (both Christian and Muslim) conflicted with their playing obligations and ask whether there is an inherent conflict, or whether the two can co-exist.


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Jonathan Collins

Jonathan Collins

Senior Associate, PwC Legal

Jonathan is an Irish solicitor and Senior Associate at PwC Legal Luxembourg. Jonathan has represented Munster at Youth level, and is mainly interested in rugby union and football.

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