England warns Vunipola for defending Folau's anti-gay post

FILE - In this file photo dated Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, England's Billy Vunipola in during the Six Nations international rugby match against Ireland

FILE - In this file photo dated Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, England's Billy Vunipola in during the Six Nations international rugby match against Ireland

LONDON (AP) — England has issued a formal warning to Billy Vunipola for defending an anti-gay Instagram post by Australia rugby player Israel Folau, and said the No. 8 regretted his comments.

Following a meeting with the player, the Rugby Football Union said Vunipola's conduct was "prejudicial to the interests of the game" and that he understood he had caused "hurt and offense."

The RFU says Vunipola was "reminded of his responsibilities as an England player and as an ambassador for the game, which values inclusivity and respect."

Vunipola was also warned about his conduct by his English club, Saracens, on Monday, though he stopped short of offering an apology, saying his beliefs are "a source of great strength, comfort and guidance in my life."

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