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RFU and Saracens condemn Billy Vunipola’s defence of Israel Folau’s views

Billy Vunipola

Billy Vunipola has been summoned to meet with RFU chiefs after showing public support for Israel Folau.

The Wallabies full-back is set to have his contract terminated by Rugby Australia after posting anti-gay comments on social media for a second time.

Two months after signing a four-year multi-million dollar contract to remain an Australia international, Folau shared an instagram post claiming ‘hell awaits’ homosexuals.

Now, England no.8 Vunipola has come in for fierce criticism after airing his view.

The vice-captain revealed he felt the need to comment on the situtation after receiving three separate phone calls requesting he ‘unlike’ Folau’s post, but in doing so Vunipola claimed ‘man was made for woman to procreate’.

The RFU and Saracens were immediate in releasing statements objecting to Vunipola’s defence of Folau.

“Rugby is an inclusive sport, and we do not support these views,” the RFU statement said.

“We will be meeting with Billy to discuss his social media posts.”

Shortly afterwards, Saracens released a lengthier statement maintaining rugby as a sport inclusive to all and free from discrimination.

“We recognise that people have different belief systems and we expect everyone to be treated equally with respect and humility,” the Saracens statement read.

“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.”

Vunipola is not the only professional rugby player to hit like Folau’s post, with Wallabies teammates Samu Kerevi and
Allan Alaalatoa showing an element of support for the post.

Premiership Rugby added their commitment to keeping rugby open to all demographics.

“Inclusivity is one of the core values of Premiership Rugby and we condemn any behaviour that encourages discrimination,” said a Premiership Rugby spokesperson.

“We are committed – with the RFU – to keeping rugby in England inclusive and some of the highlighted social media posts over the last day or so are in opposition to this.

“We were delighted to support Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign earlier in the season and welcome the opportunity to continue that next season.”

Rugby Australia have won praise for supporting the values of rugby after confirming they intend to cancel Folau’s contract barring any mitigating factors. A move which would leave the Wallabies without the back’s on-field talents at the Rugby World Cup.

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