Australian rugby star Israel Folau has responded to backlash over homophobic remarks by tweeting a Bible verse which stated that people would be persecuted for faith in God. Folau, the former captain of Australia’s national rugby union squad the Wallabies, came under fire last week after saying that according to God’s plan gay people should either repent or burn in hell. The comments led to criticism from a number of other rugby players but Folau remained faithful to his beliefs. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you,” he tweeted quoting the Bible. The player has been condemned by two of rugby’s few openly gay names – former Wales player Gareth Thomas and referee Nigel Owens who said that because of people like Folau gay sportsmen are afraid to come out.