Billy Vunipola issued formal warning by RFU after Folau defence

England international Billy Vunipola has been given a formal warning by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) after he showed support to Israel Folau following his latest controversial social media posts.

Folau sparked outrage last week with his views on homosexuality and gender, stating in a message on Instagram that "hell awaits" drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters, as well as: "REPENT! ONLY JESUS SAVES".

The Waratahs and Wallabies star is set to be sacked by Rugby Australia, but Vunipola also came in for criticism having 'liked' Folau's post, the Saracens number eight later posting on Instagram that his beliefs had been insulted but he did not "hate" anyone.

Saracens released a statement condemning Vunipola's "serious error of judgement" and he was called to a meeting with the RFU to discuss the issue, with the governing body announcing on Tuesday the player had received a formal warning and been reminded of his responsibilities.

In a statement, the RFU said: "Following a meeting between the RFU and Billy Vunipola, the Saracens forward has been issued with a formal warning under RFU rule 5.12 for conduct prejudicial to the interests of the union or the game.

"The warning will be retained on his disciplinary record for a period of five years and may be taken into account in future disciplinary proceedings.

"During the meeting the player expressed genuine regret at his public comments and understood that he had caused hurt and offence as a result of his actions.

"He has been reminded of his responsibilities as an England player and as an ambassador for the game, which values inclusivity and respect."

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