Israel Folau, who has 62 caps for the Wallabies national team, has been summoned to meet the head of Rugby Australia, Raelene Castle, who said his comment had “upset a number of people”.
The three-time Australian player of the year and devout Christian made the remark after an Instagram follower asked him what “God’s plan for gay people” was.
Folau replied: “HELL.. Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.”
The comments appear to breach Rugby Australia’s inclusion policy, designed to stamp out discrimination and homophobia in the game.
Sydney’s first gay and inclusive rugby club, the Convicts, said the comments were “disappointing”.
There was further condemnation on Twitter, with one user, Paul Walker, writing: “It disturbs me how people in this day and age can still harbour such narrow minded views, sad really.”
Another one, John Vasek, said: “What a fool. Continuing to promote hatred. Fundamentalist Christian imbeciles.”
But Dave Thomas said that while he disagreed with Folau’s views, he was “completely entitled to express his religious beliefs, just as others are entitled to criticise him”.
In another controversial moment, Folau tweeted his opposition to same-sex marriage before Australia legalised such unions last year.
Alan Joyce, chief executive of Qantas Airways, which sponsors the Wallabies, has been a key proponent of gay marriage.
One person on Twitter suggested Quantas drop its sponsorship, while another tweeted: “As a major sponsor for the wallabies are you ok with @IzzyFolau homophobic outburst?”
Ms Castle said she and Andrew Hore, the chief executive of Folau’s club, NSW Waratahs, would meet the player to “discuss his use of social media”.
“Israel’s comment reflects his personal religious beliefs, however it does not represent the view of Rugby Australia or NSW Rugby,” Ms Castle said in a statement.
“We are aligned in our view that rugby is a game for all, regardless of sexuality, race, religion or gender, which is clearly articulated in rugby’s inclusion policy.
“We understand that Israel’s comment has upset a number of people and we will discuss the matter with him as soon as possible.”