Former Wallabies star Folau injured on Test rugby return with Tonga

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Ex-Australia back Israel Folau saw his return to Test rugby cut short after he limped off in the first half of Tonga's Pacific Nations Cup loss to Fiji.

The former Wallabies star injured his leg in a collision less than half-an-hour into his debut and left the field in the 27th minute as 'Ikale Tahi slumped to a 36-0 defeat in Suva.

A 73-Test veteran with Australia, Folau - who qualifies for Tonga through his parents - was eligible to switch under new World Rugby regulations that allow for a change of nation after three years of international inactivity.

The 33-year-old, who originally moved to union following a four-year league career in the NRL with Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos, is currently with Shining Arcs Tokyo-Bay Urayasu in Japan's Top League.

Folau is effectively in exile from professional sport in his home country after he was sacked by Rugby Australia over a homophobic social media post in 2019.

He subsequently returned to rugby league and spent a season with Catalans Dragons in Super League before skipping out to return to union in Japan, after he was blacklisted from playing in either code in Australia.

Tonga selected him as part of their squad for the Pacific Nations Cup in May, but it remains to be seen if Folau - who also played AFL with Greater Western Sydney for two years - will be fit enough to return for their next game against Australia A.

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