Booing of Vunipola 'unexpected' says Saracens boss

Billy Vunipola

Billy Vunipola

Scott Hastings, the former British & Irish Lions player and 1990 Grand Slam victor with Scotland, has called for Billy Vunipola to "understand the hurt [he] has caused" after seemingly supporting Israel Folau's views on homosexuality.

Folau said on Wednesday that "hell awaits" homosexuals in comments that have resulted in Rugby Australia stating they plan to terminate his contract.

"So this morning I got 3 phone calls from people telling me to "unlike" the @izzyfolau post".

'In saying that, obviously I love playing footy and if it goes down that path I'll definitely miss it.

"But that's why I believe there's a God". But my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first'.

In this June 25, 2016, photo Australian rugby union player Israel Folau points to the sky after scoring a try against England during their rugby union test match in Sydney.

Bristol fans booed Vunipola as the song, It's Raining Men, boomed out over the loud speakers at Ashton Gate where Vunipola's Saracens side lost to Bristol on Saturday (Sunday NZ time).

Vunipola, 26, is one of the TV channel's star names, promoting coverage of the Heineken Champions Cup with behind-the-scenes videos throughout the season.

Saracens boss Mark McCall has repeatedly refused to be drawn on the matter - deciding to hide behind the club statement sent out on Friday.

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"I don't want to get dragged into anything' My opinion is not that relevant".

The RFU, who supported the Rainbow Laces campaign in their autumn worldwide match against Australia in November, said: 'Rugby is an inclusive sport, and we do not support these views.

Saracens have also promised an internal inquiry, claiming Vunipola's "recent social media posts" were inconsistent with the club's values. The club have made a clear statement and we have not sat down with him yet.

"However naive this might be - I believe that Billy just thought he was supporting a mate - a Christian - his 'I don't hate anyone" sums him up - I think he has just been naive and simplistic, ' he said on Twitter. You're just going to want my opinion on this, which I'm not going to give you.

'He's a human being.

"He's also very keen to do well for his teammates". He's a great team man and a great club man.

"The decision to play him (Vunipola) from the bench was made before what happened, happened".

Scott Hastings, the former Lions and Scotland player whose son Corey is gay and married to his partner, said Vunipola needed to "understand the hurt he has caused".

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