Billy Vunipola insists that it was never his intention to hurt anyone when he backed Israel Folau’s controversial anti-homosexual social media comments.
Vunipola put in a man-of-the-match performance during Saracens’ 32-16 victory over Munster in the Heineken Champions Cup semi-final at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday afternoon.
BT Sport’s Austin Healey named Vunipola man-of-the-match and consequently, a post-match television interview took place after the final whistle.
During it, Vunipola spoke about the “love” and “kindness” shown to him over the past week.
“Behind closed doors, I felt a lot of love, a lot of kindness shown to me,” Vunipola said.
“I’m grateful to be part of this team.
“Hopefully we keep this going, keep up what we’re doing an enjoying every minute of it.”
In response to the question as to whether he has anything to say to the people who booed him throughout the game, Vunipola said:
“No, from my point of view, I believe what I believe in. There was no intention to hurt anyone, it was never my intention.
“I’m just grateful to be able to play, to be fit and hopefully we’ll see those guys in the final.”
"I believe in what I believe in. There was no intention to hurt anyone."
Billy Vunipola speaks after a Man of the Match performance. pic.twitter.com/aoE7wxeVQK
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) April 20, 2019
Vunipola was confronted by a supporter on the pitch after the game, an incident in which EPCR described as “regrettable”.