Billy Vunipola is to be questioned by the Rugby Football Union after showing support to a homophobic Instagram post published by Israel Folau.
Folau said on Wednesday that “hell awaits” homosexuals in comments that have resulted in Rugby Australia stating they intend to terminate his contract, effectively ruling him out of this autumn’s World Cup.
In an apparent defence of his fellow Christian’s view, Vunipola has liked Folau’s post and states on his own account that “Man was made for woman to pro create that was the goal no?”
However, England’s first choice number eight adds that “I don’t HATE anyone”.
Vunipola could face disciplinary action in response to the anti-gay position outlined in his post, although initially his England bosses are seeking talks.
“Rugby is an inclusive sport and we do not support these views. We will be meeting with Billy to discuss his social media posts,” an RFU spokeswoman said.
Vunipola has been named on the bench for Saracens’ Gallagher Premiership match against Bristol on Saturday and travels to Ashton Gate knowing his club are to launch an internal enquiry into comments that are odds with their stance on diversity.
“We recognise that people have different belief systems and we expect everyone to be treated equally with respect and humility,” the English champions’ statement read.
“As representatives and role models, Saracens players have a responsibility not only to themselves but to the Club and wider society.
“Billy Vunipola’s recent social media posts are inconsistent with this and we take this matter very seriously. It will be handled internally.”
Both posts remain visible on the players’ accounts with rugby league-bound Luther Burrell among those to have liked Vunipola’s entry, which the 26-year-old is refusing to delete.
“So this morning I got 3 phone calls from people telling me to ‘unlike’ the @izzyfolau post. This is my position on it. I don’t HATE anyone neither do I think I’m perfect,” the Saracens back row said.
“There just comes a point when you insult what I grew up believing in that you just say enough is enough, what he’s saying isn’t that he doesn’t like or love those people.
“He’s saying how we live our lives needs to be closer to how God intended them to be. Man was made for woman to pro create that was the goal no? I’m not perfect I’m at least everything on that list at least at one point in my life. It hurts to know that.
“But that’s why I believe there’s a God. To guide and protect us and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
Vunipola’s mother is Reverend Iesinga Vunipola, a Methodist Minister, and the player has repeatedly spoken of the strength he draws from his faith.
His recent career has been interrupted by a series of significant injuries, most notably three successive broken arms, but he appeared throughout England’s recent Six Nations campaign.
Although he has yet to regain top form in the wake of his repeated spells in the treatment room, he will enter the World Cup as undisputed first choice in his position.
Stonewall, who campaign for the equality of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people across Britain, objects to the use of religion to explain homophobic beliefs.
“Faith is often used to justify anti-LGBT views and attitudes. This is wrong and perpetuates a myth that faith and LGBT inclusion cannot coexist,” a spokesperson said.