England star Billy Vunipola warned by RFU chiefs after backing homophobic posts by axed Aussie ace Israel Folau

ENGLAND No 8 Billy Vunipola has been given a formal warning by RFU chiefs following a homophobic comment he made on his Instagram account last week.

The 26-year-old posted a message in support of disgraced Australian rugby star Israel Folau who stated that homosexuals and other "sinners" were destined for hell.

 Saracens star Billy Vunipola has been warned over his future conduct by England

PA:Press Association
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Saracens star Billy Vunipola has been warned over his future conduct by England

The Aussie ace was subsequently sacked over his remarks where he refused to apologise over his actions.

Vunipola defended Folau's initial post, as he said: "Man was made for woman to procreate that was the goal no?"

A statement from England Rugby said: "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."

Vunipola – who was booed during Saracens' defeat against Bristol at Ashton Gate on Saturday – was given a stern dressing down by Sarries over his conduct.

In a statement where he apologised, Vunipola said: "I can see my recent post has hurt people. My intention was never to cause suffering.

“My intention was to express my belief in the word of God. These beliefs are a source of great guidance in my life. Anyone who knows me, knows I live with kindness and love towards ALL people.

“This is deeply personal and does not represent the views of my team. My Christian faith has sustained me through the ups and many downs of my life.”

 Israel Folau sparked outrage with the homophobic rant on social media

PA:Press Association
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Israel Folau sparked outrage with the homophobic rant on social media
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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

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ENGLAND No 8 Billy Vunipola has been given a formal warning by RFU chiefs following a homophobic comment he made on his Instagram account last week.