Rugby-Folau sacked by Rugby Australia over social media post

SYDNEY, May 17 (Reuters) - Rugby Australia terminated fullback Israel Folau's contract on Friday for committing a high level breach of the players' code of conduct by sharing a social media post.

"This outcome is painful for the game," Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

"RA supports (players') rights to their own beliefs and nothing changes from that. But when we talk about inclusiveness we mean that we respect our differences as well."

The protracted saga was triggered by Folau's Instagram post on April 10 that said hell awaited "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers" and others the fundamentalist Christian considered sinners.

Folau shared a similar post last year but escaped sanction and signed a new four-year contract, reported to be worth A$4 million ($2.77 million), in February.

The 30-year-old has the right to appeal the ruling. ($1 = 1.4451 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Ian Ransom)