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Rugby player Simon Dunn sends a message to Israel Folau with defiant victory kiss

Hope you're enjoying the view, Israel.

By Will Stroude

Rugby player and former bobsledder Simon Dunn has become the latest public figure to take a stand against Israel Folau following the Australian rugby star’s recent homophobic comments – and we gotta say, we like his style.

Simon, who became the first openly gay man to join a national bobsleigh team when he joined the Australian squad in 2014 before retiring from the sport two years later, stuck two fingers to Folau on Instagram this week as he shared a defiant image of himself kissing his partner Felix following a rugby match in London, where he’s now based.

Both Felix and Simon play for London LGBT rugby club King’s Cross Steelers, and the teammates and partners celebrated their squad’s victory on Saturday (April 21) by locking lips on the pitch before sending the picture Folau’s way on Twitter.

“The photo for me not only shows the love for my partner but also that a person’s sexuality truly has zero impact on their ability to perform as an athlete,” Simon told DNA.

“I’ve been lucky enough to play many sports at different levels, including representing my country. One thing I learnt was Homophobia has no place in the sporting world and it’s comments like those from Israel truly are outdated.

“We as LGBT athletes need to continue to champion the cause of inclusion!”

Folau, a devout Christian, publicly opposed same-sex marriage during the run-up to Australia’s national postal vote on the issue last year, and sparked a fierce backlash earlier this month after saying that God’s plan for LGBT people is “hell”.

Leading LGBT rugby figures including former Wales captain Gareth Thomas and referee Nigel Owens have slammed Folau following the comments, while New Zealand All Blacks star TJ Perenarasaid that such remarks “cannot be tolerated” by the sport.

However, the chief executive of Rugby Australia, Raelene Castle, said that the body “accept Israel’s position”.

“Israel clearly articulated his religious beliefs and why his faith is important to him and has provided context behind his social media comment”, Castle said in a statement.

“In his own words, Israel said that he did not intend to upset people intentionally or bring hurt to the game.”