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Dublin: 13°C Thursday 29 October 2020

Supporter banned from Ricoh Arena after confronting Billy Vunipola

The Saracens number eight was confronted on the pitch in Coventry.

Murray Kinsella reports from the Ricoh Arena, Coventry

A SUPPORTER HAS been banned from the Ricoh Arena after confronting Saracens number eight Billy Vunipola on the pitch following his side’s Heineken Champions Cup semi-final victory over Munster.

The fan, wearing a Munster jersey, got onto the pitch at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry and approached Vunipola, who had been named man of the match after a try-scoring performance.

Billy Vunipola is confronted by a Munster fan after the game A supporter confronted Billy Vunipola after the game. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The supporter was subsequently detained by stadium security and then banned from attending games at the Ricoh Arena.

He has since been released and left the stadium with no police involvement.

The fan’s details will now be passed onto Munster by EPCR, with the province free to decide on whether to further investigate the incident.

EPCR  said it “does not condone the entry of a spectator to the field of play” and called it a “regrettable incident.”

Munster head coach Johann van Graan was asked about the incident post-match but a spokesperson for the province stepped in to state that they would be making no comment on the issue.

Vunipola was booed throughout the game by Munster fans, having been formally warned by his own club last week after posting a message on Instagram defending Israel Folau.

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Vunipola had liked an Instagram post by Folau that said “hell awaits” homosexuals.

In his own subsequent post, Vunipola defended Folau for “saying how we live our lives needs to be closer to how God intended them to be”. Vunipola also said that “man was made for woman to pro-create.”

Saracens boss Mark McCall said he had not seen the incident involving the supporter after the game but stressed that Saracens had dealt with the issue around Vunipola.

“You could see how tight we were today,” said McCall. “The club dealt with it [Vunipola's Instagram post], it’s been dealt with. It was dealt with decisively, it was dealt with quickly and it was dealt with, in my opinion, fairly. 

“Then we just got on with the rugby and that’s what we’re here to do, get on with the rugby.”

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Murray Kinsella

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