England star Billy Vunipola shows support for disgraced Israel Folau over homophobic social media posts

BILLY VUNIPOLA faces a ban after England  bosses ordered him to explain his controversial support for homophobic Israel Folau.

The Red Rose No 8 has been summoned to Twickenham for a meeting with RFU chiefs next week after defending devout Christian Folau on Instagram in a post liked by more than 5,000 people ­— including his Test team-mates Manu Tuilagi, Courtney Lawes and Ellis Genge.

 Billy Vunipola made his England debut in 2012 and has since won 52 caps

PA:Press Association
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Billy Vunipola made his England debut in 2012 and has since won 52 caps

And SunSport can also reveal that Vunipola has already been dumped as a face of Channel 4’s European Champions Cup coverage.

The 26-year-old will be rapped by his club Saracens and was also hammered by the Rugby Players’ Association, Prem Rugby and equality campaigners Stonewall.

If the RFU opt to charge Vunipola, he could miss Saracens’ crunch run-in, including a potential Euro final.

In the offending post, Vunipola said: “I got 3 phone calls from people telling me to ‘unlike’ the @izzy folau post.

“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.

“Man was made for woman to pro create that was the goal no?”

The RFU said: “We will be meeting with Billy to discuss his social media posts. Rugby is an inclusive sport, and we do not support these views.”

These views are incompatible with our values as an inclusive broadcaster.

Channel 4 statement

Whilst the sport was imploding at home, England boss Eddie Jones was in Japan where, believe it or not, he was launching a new range of HANDBAGS for a Tokyo-based fashion designer.

Folau, 30, has been told he will be sacked by Rugby Australia.

In a previous high-profile case Joe Marler got a two-game ban and was fined £20,000 in 2016 for a racial slur against Wales’ Samson Lee.

World Rugby will keep an eye on the situation, but if the RFU charge Vunipola for misconduct then they would do so under the same regulation 20 that protects against: “Discrimination by reason of religion, race, sex, sexual orientation, disability, colour or national or ethnic origin.”

Channel 4 acted swiftly to strike Vunipola off their books ahead of his crunch talks with the Twickenham suits next week.

In a statement given to SunSport, they said: “These views are incompatible with our values as an inclusive broadcaster and in light of this Billy Vunipola will not be used as a contributor in Channel 4’s rugby union coverage.”

Car giant Land Rover, who use Vunipola as an ambassador, refused to comment.

Saracens said they would launch an internal probe into one of their highest-paid stars.

Vunipola is set to be on the bench at Bristol today.

His club said: “Saracens proudly embraces diversity and warmly welcomes everyone to the club regardless of race, gender, religion and sexual orientation.

“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.”

View this post on Instagram

So this morning I got 3 phone calls from people telling me to ‘unlike’ the @izzyfolau post. 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 pro create 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.

A post shared by Billy Vunipola (@vunipola_billy) on

 Israel Folau sparked outrage with the homophobic rant on social media

Reuters
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Israel Folau sparked outrage with the homophobic rant on social media

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BILLY VUNIPOLA faces a ban after England  bosses ordered him to explain his controversial support for homophobic Israel Folau.