AAP Rugby

Vunipola puts homophobic comments on hold

By AAP Newswire

Billy Vunipola has drawn a line under his homophobic comment supporting Israel Folau, saying he doesn't want to harm England's World Cup rugby bid.

Vunipola caused a storm in April by posting "man was made for woman to pro create that was the goal no?" on his Instagram account in support of the view of sacked Australia full-back Folau that "hell awaits" for "homosexuals".

The post, which resulted in a reprimand by the Rugby Football Union, remains visible but its contents are not up for debate as the No.8 attempts to head off any distractions.

"We have talked about it at length, not just me, but me and the RFU and the people at Saracens," Vunipola said.

"We came to a conclusion that this issue, that people say I brought on myself, is better off left alone.

"I have made my position clear and what I don't want to do is become a distraction to the players around me.

"I guess, for example, if I was a boxer and it was just me that I was affecting, I would sit here and answer your question.

"But it doesn't just affect me. It is affects the coaching staff, the players, because they will be asked for their opinions on it.

"It is firmly what I put out there and it is firmly on me, but at the same time I don't want to put them under the cosh by saying this, this and this because that is unfair to them."

Despite the episode, England have opted against issuing a social media ban heading into a World Cup they are among the favourites to win.

"I definitely think social media is a positive tool to use," Saracens forward Vunipola said.

"The English supporters especially enjoy seeing how we go about our day to day lives and the normal things like going for a coffee - that is probably what people are most-interested in.

"You can use social media to give an insight into what we do and hopefully boost the interest.

"It's still a positive tool and there is no restriction on it, especially from the RFU or anyone else."