England international, Billy Vunipola has been given a formal warning by the Rugby Football Union following his Instagram post supporting Israel Folau.
Folau, who has found himself under a cloud of controversy following an Instagram post that claimed: “Hell awaits drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators”.
The full-back looks set to have his contract terminated by Rugby Australia in the wake of his comments and Vunipola came out in support of the Australian, writing on his own Instagram account, “Man was made for woman to procreate that was the goal no?”
Vunipola was subsequently called in for talks by the RFU following his comments and it has since been announced that he received a formal warning.
A statement released by the RFU read;
“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 escaped a possible fine or banning meaning he is eligible for England’s warm-up tests ahead of the Rugby World Cup later this year.
The player himself released a statement claiming he never meant to cause suffering with his comments but never apologised for his actions. While on club duty for Saracens at the weekend, Vunipola was booed by Bristol fans after being introduced to the action.