ISRAEL Folau is staying in Super League after signing a new deal with Catalans Dragons.
The controversial former dual-code Australia international was linked with a return to the NRL.
But the 30-year-old has committed to another 12 months in the south of France after extending his contract until the end of next year.
Folau said: “Me and my family are very excited to stay on at the club for season 2021.
“We’re very grateful for the opportunity that Bernard Guasch and the Dragons have given me.
“I’m looking forward to working hard and achieving great success on the field with my team mates and this great club.”
Folau’s arrival sparked protests after he was sacked by Australia’s rugby union for posting an image to Instagram warning “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars” to “repent” and that “only Jesus saves”.
Alongside it, he wrote: “Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.”
Castleford supporters claimed Pride flags they put up at Perpignan’s Stade Gilbert Brutus were torn down and he was booed on his first touch in Super League at Hull.
But he has showed glimpses of brilliance and with him believed to be loving off-field life in France – he is thought to love life in a small village – he has chosen to stay.
Now he may push for selection for Tonga’s squad for next year’s Rugby League World Cup in England.
Folau settled his dismissal case with Rugby Australia and New South Wales Waratahs in December after he took legal action against them.
RA and Folau – who also suggested last November’s Australian bush fires were because of the country’s attitude to gay marriage and abortion – announced the settlement in a joint statement although its terms remain undisclosed.
He signed an agreement stating any repeat of his comments would see his deal ripped up but Catalans owner Bernard Guasch believes the reality has disproved the perception.
He said: “Once the media storm that followed his signing passed, and after only three Super League appearances, he received many requests and became a highly demanded player.
“But he feels gratitude for the club. He has shown he is a respectful player since he arrived at the club.
“He will be 32-years-old at the end of his new contract and we will then think about the rest of his career.”