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Adam Davy Billy Vunipola (file photo).
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Vunipola defends under-fire Israel Folau following controversial social media posts
A statement from Saracens says that the England player’s post is ‘inconsistent’ with the club’s values, and they will be handling the matter internally.

Updated at 16.48

SARACENS SAY THAT Billy Vunipola’s social media post in which he offers a defence of Israel Folau’s controversial views is “inconsistent” with the values held by the club.

The English side has published a statement, revealing that they “take this matter very seriously” and will be will be dealing with the situation “internally.”

Meanwhile, an RFU spokesperson has said that they “do not support” Vunipola’s views and will be seeking a meeting with the England number eight to discuss his social media post.

“Saracens proudly embraces diversity and warmly welcomes everyone to the Club regardless of race, gender, religion and sexual orientation,” the Saracens statement reads.  

“Our sport is open to all and we strive for it to be free from all forms of discrimination.  We recognise that people have different belief systems and we expect everyone to be treated equally with respect and humility.”

“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.

Rugby Australia have announced plans to sack Folau after the Wallabies and Waratahs full-back sparked outrage with his opinions on homosexuality and gender this week.

Folau posted a message on Instagram that said ”hell awaits” drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters along with “REPENT! ONLY JESUS SAVES”. He had avoided punishment last year after stating homosexuals should go to “hell” unless they “repent their sins and turn to God.”

The dual-code international also caused a stir with his stance on the passing of legislation in Tasmania that makes gender optional on birth certificates and allows people 16 years and older to legally change gender without parental approval.

Vunipola took to his own Instagram account on Friday to explain why he had ‘liked’ Folau’s post, claiming his beliefs had been insulted but that he did not “hate” anyone.

“So this morning I got 3 phone calls from people telling me to ‘unlike’ the Izzy Folau post,” Vunipola wrote alongside a picture of a Bible passage.

“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 procreate – 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.

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“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.”

According to reports in Australia, Folau has been stood down by the Waratahs until further notice. 

Additional reporting by Sinéad Farrell

Gavan Casey and Murray Kinsella are joined by Bernard Jackman to discuss Izzy Folau’s impending sacking by Australia and all the week’s news on the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly:

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