Vunipola let off with formal warning by RFU

2019-04-16 12:57
Billy Vunipola (Getty)

London - England star Billy Vunipola has escaped with a "formal warning" from the Rugby Football Union after they held a meeting over his defending Israel Folau's anti-homosexual social media comments.

Vunipola liked Folau's post and called for people to "live their lives how God intended" after the controversial Australia back, who is now facing the sack unless he repents, claimed "Hell awaits" homosexuals as well as drunks and adulterers amongst others.

Vunipola - who also received a formal warning from his club Saracens - is free to play in this year's World Cup for which he is a pivotal member of Eddie Jones' starting XV.

"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," read the RFU statement. 

"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."

Vunipola, who was booed every time he touched the ball in Saracens' defeat by Bristol last Saturday, had according to the RFU accepted he hurt people by his stance.

"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," said the RFU.

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

Vunipola will also be available for Saracens' European Champions Cup semi-final with Irish province Munster on Saturday after they, too, held talks.   

"The player has been formally warned about his future conduct," said Saracens.

"We recognise the complexity of different belief systems and understand Billy's intention was to express the word of God rather than cause offence.

"However, he made a serious error of judgement in publicly sharing his opinion, which is inconsistent with the values of the club and contravenes his contractual obligations."

Vunipola also issued a statement saying he did not intend to hurt anyone and he bears "love towards ALL people".

Folau, who was involved in a similar controversy last year, sparked the latest scandal when he posted a banner on Instagram last week saying:"Warning. Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators. Hell awaits you. Repent! Only Jesus saves."

Read more on:    england  |  billy vunipola  |  rugby


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk
Breaking News

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Which of the 4 South African team will finish with the fewest Super Rugby SA Conference points?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.