Australian rugby star Israel Folau says he stands firm by anti-gay comments he made on Instagram.

The 29-year-old Folau is a devout Christian. He plays for Australian rugby team the Wallabies.

Last month, Folau posted a meme on Instagram about God's plan. When a follower asked, “What was God's plan for gay people?” Folau replied: “HELL.. Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.”

According to the BBC, Folau has since deleted the comment.

Ahead of his return to the game on Saturday, Folau told the Australian Associated Press (AAP) that he's not backing down.

“I stand firm in what I believe in and that's something personal with who I am,” Folau said.

“That's something that comes truly from the bottom of my heart. That doesn't interfere with anything to do with my rugby and the guys around me.”

When asked whether he was hurt by the backlash, Folau responded: “Absolutely not. I don't take anything personally. I understand everyone is entitled to their opinion and I've said what I've said in recent weeks. I leave it there.”