The Australian Rugby Union has sensationally withdrawn Israel Folau from the NSW line-up to play Western Force on Saturday night, less than 36 hours after the Waratahs had deemed the fullback fit to play.
In a highly unusual move, the ARU received their own advice on the gifted No.15 who'd sustained a throat injury against the Melbourne Rebels in a Super Rugby match on March 21.
While he travelled to South Africa for the second match of their two-fixture tour, he was ruled unfit to play in the clash with the Stormers last weekend.
On Thursday he was named in the Waratahs' side by coach Michael Cheika.
But the ARU stepped in on the eve of the Australian derby, chief medical officer Dr Warren McDonald making his decision based on specialist medical advice.
"Advice from our medical specialists is that Israel's throat injury hasn't healed to the point where it's in his best interests to return to play tomorrow night," Dr McDonald said in a statement from the ARU.
"This is a player welfare issue, which has been the focus of all medical staff involved in this difficult decision, and we'll continue to work on the plan for his return as soon as possible."
The call by the ARU to overrule a state decision on player fitness is thought to be unprecedented in Super Rugby.
Folau offered a one-word tweet on Friday night: "Frustrated".
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