Israel Folau’s Test rugby return was short-lived in Tonga’s heavy 36-0 loss to Fiji

Israel Folau’s return to Test rugby lasted less than 30 minutes before he was injured in Tonga’s 36-0 loss to Fiji in the Pacific Nations Cup in Suva.

Folau took the field on the right wing for Tonga in his first test since 2019.

He had scored 37 tries in 73 Tests for Australia before being sacked by Rugby Australia in 2019 for violating its players’ code of conduct.

Folau played for the Catalan Dragons in the European Super League before returning to rugby union this year with the Shining Arcs in Japan’s professional league.

Changes to World Rugby eligibility rules allowed him to return to Test rugby, which he did with nine players making their debut for Tonga on Saturday.

Folau left the field with a leg injury in the 27th minute and was replaced by Tima Fainga’anuku, who made his debut for Tonga on the same day that his brother Leicester would make his test debut for New Zealand against Ireland.