These are your morning rugby headlines for Thursday April 9.

FOLAU TO PLAY AGAINST WALLABIES

Israel Folau is poised to rekindle his international career by playing for Tonga at next year's Rugby League World Cup.

It could see the man who was sacked by Australia actually line up against the Wallabies in the knockout stages of the tournament, report the Daily Telegraph.

Folau has Tongan heritage but played for Australia 62 times before his career came to a halt after the homophobic posts he put on social media.

The row saw Folau miss last year's union World Cup in Japan and he then received a multi-million pound out of court settlement from Rugby Australia.

Folau has since been playing for French Super League club Catalans and Tonga have confirmed they are ready to pick him for the World Cup.

Tongan team spokesperson John Hopoate said: "The coach, Kristian Woolf, has made contact with him and let him know that if he’s playing good enough he will be in our team."

The International Rugby League are ready to back the move, he continued.

“It comes under the international game, the IRL, they said he’s allowed to play," he explained.

“He’s not going to walk straight into the team, these guys who have stuck strong by us in the last couple of years will get first opportunity.

“If someone gets injured, or if Israel’s playing too good where we had to pick him, then yes he’s going to get picked.

"We’re not going to say no to him.”

AUSTRALIA STARS TO TAKE MASSIVE PAY CUTS

Australian players are set to take perhaps the biggest pay cuts of any sporting stars because of the coronavirus crisis, report The Australian.

Rugby Australia are said to be facing a crisis and it is reported they have asked the 192 players contracted to them to take cuts of 65 per cent.

There are reports the governing body could lose as much as £60m this year in a worst case scenario, if rugby is effectively cancelled for 2020.

The Australian reports that the players' union have suggested 42 per cent wage cuts for three months, but Rugby Australia have countered by saying that players will need to cope with losing a considerably larger proportion of their income.

PRO 14 TV CASH BLOW FOR WELSH REGIONS

Wales' four regions could miss out on bumper TV revenue if the Guinness PRO14 season cannot be finalised.

The Irish Times report the five competing countries could be hit by a cumulative loss of around £13m, with tournament organisers trying to come up with a contingency plan to find some kind of climax to the 2019-20 campaign.

It comes amid claims from French Federation President Bernard Laporte that rugby could be cancelled until January.

The PRO14 has different deals with nine broadcasters, with the money split between Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Italy and South Africa and filtered down to the competing teams.

And, as with the English and French leagues, PRO14 officials are trying to find ways to get matches on again to satisfy demand from the TV companies.

The biggest difficulty is the cross-border nature of the competition.

The English Premiership and French Top 14 have discussed play-offs or behind closed doors matches, but travel restrictions are said to make that unfeasible in the PRO14.

Tournament rules do permit the organisers to declare cancelled games as 0-0 draws, awarding two points to each side.

That would leave Leinster, Ulster, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Munster and the Scarlets contesting the playoffs.

But the travel restrictions would still be an issue.

ENGLISH CLUBS RUGBY DRAW UP SUMMER PLANS

England's top clubs are drawing up plans to finish their season behind closed doors this summer, with a one-off cup competition mooted.

The English Premiership sides have been looking at various models of how to get the action up and running once more.

The priority, according to reports, is to get rugby back on television amid fears that broadcasters BT will seek a rebate that will further hit clubs already struggling with income reduced owing to no matches.

BT themselves have had to offer subscription freezes to viewers to compensate for a lack of action.

The Guardian say one plan is to finish the current season with a couple of special play-off weekends in August to decide the champions before starting the 2020-21 campaign.

Another idea is for a one-off cup competition that would involve the Gallagher Premiership's 12 clubs and give BT action.

As things stand, BT will lose 11 weekends of matches if the current campaign is abandoned with nothing replacing it.

The cup competition would last for a month and finish just before the start of the new season, although that could be delayed to accommodate.

Bristol owner Steve Lansdown said: "We need to get our heads together and take this opportunity to review everything we do.”

WALES STARS SET TO QUIT

Wales boss Wayne Pivac is braced for a double blow amid reports on Thursday morning that centres Hadleigh Parkes and Owen Williams are Japanese bound.

The Daily Mail say the Wales stars have rejected new offers in regional rugby and are heading for big-money moves to the Far East.

As they each fall well short of the WRU's 60-cap ruling for exiled players to be selected by Wales, it would spell the end of their international careers.

Pivac would also be left short of options in the centre, a position that has become a problem area for Wales in terms of a lack of strength in depth.

Parkes was linked at the weekend with Kobe Steel, but is said to have also had an offer from league leaders Panasonic Wild Knights and agreed to join them.

The Kiwi who qualified on residency rules was part of the Grand Slam side last year and helped Wales reach the semi-finals of the World Cup, but may have played his final match for his adopted country.

Gloucester star Williams could have been seen as the natural stand-in for Parkes, but the Mail report he too is heading to Japan after bids by the Ospreys and Dragons to entice him to Wales failed.

You can read our full story here.

MAY ON THE MOVE

England wing flier Jonny May is another player who appears to be on the move.

The try ace is reportedly on the bring of leaving Leicester Tigers and could be heading to their English Premiership rivals Sale Sharks.

Leicester are thought to be feeling the pinch of the current coronavirus crisis mote than most and according to Rugby Pass May would have to take a salary cut if he were to remain at Welford Road.