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Billy Vunipola given formal warning by RFU after defending Israel Folau

Mirror logo Mirror 3 days ago Alex Richards
Billy Vunipola holding a football ball: File photo dated 09-03-2019 of England's Billy Vunipola PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday April 16, 2019. Billy Vunipola has been given a formal warning and reminded of his responsibilities as an England player by the Rugby Football Union over a discriminatory social media post, the governing body said in a statement. See PA story RUGBYU Vunipola. Photo credit should read Adam Davy/PA Wire. © PA File photo dated 09-03-2019 of England's Billy Vunipola PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday April 16, 2019. Billy Vunipola has been given a formal warning and reminded of his responsibilities as an England player by the Rugby Football Union over a discriminatory social media post, the governing body said in a statement. See PA story RUGBYU Vunipola. Photo credit should read Adam Davy/PA Wire.

England international Billy Vunipola has been issued with a formal warning by the Rugby Football Union for a homophobic comment made on his Instagram account last week.

Vunipola was summoned for talks by the RFU to discuss a post that says "Man was made for woman to pro create that was the goal no?".

Vunipola was acting in support of Australia full-back and fellow devout Christian Israel Folau, who stated on social media that "hell awaits" for "homosexuals".

Vunipola has escaped a fine or ban and will be available for England's four warm-up Tests ahead of the World Cup this autumn.

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An RFU statement read: "Following a meeting between the RFU and Billy Vunipola, the Saracens forward has been issued with a formal warning under RFU rule 5.12 for conduct prejudicial to the interests of the union or the game.

"The warning will be retained on his disciplinary record for a period of five years and may be taken into account in future disciplinary proceedings.

"During the meeting the player expressed genuine regret at his public comments and understood that he had caused hurt and offence as a result of his actions.

"He has been reminded of his responsibilities as an England player and as an ambassador for the game, which values inclusivity and respect."

Billy Vunipola with a football ball in front of a crowd: Vunipola in action for club side Saracens © Action Images Vunipola in action for club side Saracens

England Rugby's warning comes after Vunipola was similarly reprimanded by Saracens on Monday evening.

England's No.8 was warned about his future conduct by his club side, after being among 30,000 Instagram users who 'liked' the post by Folau, which declared "sinners" including drunks, atheists and gay people were going to "hell" if they did not repent.

Vunipola, 26, was booed during Saracens' Premiership defeat by Bristol on Saturday.

a man on a football field: Israel Folau, who has been sacked by Rugby Australia © Credits: Getty Images Israel Folau, who has been sacked by Rugby Australia

Vunipola released a statement on Monday in which he showed remorse for his actions.

However, he stopped short of offering an apology, while the offending post remains visible on his Instagram account.

"I can see that my recent post has hurt people. My intention was never to cause suffering," he said.

"My intention was to express my belief in the word of God. These beliefs are a source of great strength, comfort and guidance in my life. This is deeply personal and does not represent the views of my team.

"Anyone who knows me, knows I live with kindness and love towards ALL people."

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