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Rugby

12th Apr 2019

RFU to meet with Billy Vunipola over Israel Folau support

Jack O'Toole

The RFU will meet with England and Saracens forward Billy Vunipola after he reiterated his support of Wallabies back Israel Folau’s homophobic views.

Folau posted a photo on Instagram earlier this week with the message: “Warning. Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators. Hell awaits you. Repent! Only Jesus saves.”

It’s the second time he has posted homophobic messages after he wrote last year on his Instagram account that god had a place in hell for homosexuals.

Vunipola liked his most recent Instagram post and decided to double down on his support with a post on his own Instagram account in defence of the embattled New South Wales Waratah.

Vunipola wrote on Instagram that what Folau said “isn’t that he doesn’t like or love those people” while adding “man was made for woman to pro create that was the goal no?”

His post read:

“So this morning I got three phone calls from people telling me to ‘unlike’ the Izzy Folau post,” he wrote.

“This is my position on it. I don’t HATE anyone, neither do I think I’m perfect.

“There just comes a point when you insult what I grew up believing in that you just say enough is enough – what he’s saying isn’t that he doesn’t like or love those people.

“He’s saying how we live our lives needs to be closer to how God intended them to be. Man was made for woman to procreate, that was the goal no?

“I’m not perfect – I’m at least everything on that list at least at one point in my life. It hurts to know that. But that’s why I believe there’s a God.

“To guide and protect us and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

The RFU distanced themselves from those views and said that they would be meeting with the player. A Rugby Football Union spokesperson said: “Rugby is an inclusive sport and we do not support these views. We will be meeting with Billy to discuss his social media posts” while Saracens also released a lengthy statement condemning Vunipola’s position.

Meanwhile Saracens also distanced themselves from Vunipola’s stance and noted that Saracens players have a responsibility not only to themselves but to the club and wider society.

“We recognise that people have different belief systems and we expect everyone to be treated equally with respect and humility.

“As representatives and role models, Saracens players have a responsibility not only to themselves but to the club and wider society.

“Billy Vunipola’s recent social media posts are inconsistent with this and we take this matter very seriously. It will be handled internally.”

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