Billy Vunipola backs shamed rugby player Israel Folau in Instagram post

Heather Diaz
April 13, 2019

The deeply religious 30-year-old held talks with Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle, a day after she said she intends to fire him - barring mitigating circumstances - for posting on Instagram that "Hell awaits" homosexuals. Some professional rugby players have even posted on their own social media to apologise for liking Folau's post.

"Rugby is an inclusive sport, and we do not support these views", an RFU spokesperson said. "We will be meeting with Billy to discuss his social media posts".

The Rugby Australia code of conduct says players are expected to "treat everyone equally, fairly and with dignity regardless of gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, cultural or religious background, age or disability".

Folau escaped sanction when he posted similar comments past year but RA took a much harder line when, having repeatedly warned him against it, the player repeated the offence. "It will be handled internally".

Wallaby and Waratahs star Drew Mitchell says Rugby Australia has been left with no choice other than to sack Israel Folau.

It was touted that North Queensland could be interested in his services after Ben Barba received a life ban and they missed out on Valentine Holmes, who's in the United States pursuing his National Football League dream.

The controversy erupted after he posted a warning on social media saying that "Hell waits" drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators unless they repent.

"NSW Rugby Union has stood down Israel Folau from all player duties with the NSW Waratahs until further notice".

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is a Pentecostal Christian like Folau, said whether to sack him or not was a decision for only the rugby authorities to make.

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Vunipola's club side Saracens also released a statement, promising to take the matter "very seriously".

Vunipola added: "Man was made for woman to procreate that was the goal no?"

"I don't HATE anyone neither do I think I'm flawless", Vunipola added. I'm telling you, out there people are terrified of saying anything.

Folau also posted similar comments previous year, for which he was not sanctioned by RA, although he did acknowledge he had caused "grief to some people".

RUPA will work alongside Israel and his representatives, the NSW Rugby Union and Rugby Australia to ensure that this process is followed.

Rugby Australia said Folau could not share material that "condemns, vilifies or discriminates against people on the basis of their sexuality".

"But that's why I believe there's a God".

"Following today's meeting the two organisations will update their respective boards on the matter to consider next steps".

Australian Wallabies coach Michael Cheika was seen leaving Rugby Australia headquarters.

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