Vunipola defends Australia's Folau in anti-gay row

Israel Folau

Israel Folau

Israel Folau is to be sacked by Rugby Australia following a post the player made on his Instagram account.

Folau, who has played 73 Tests and was seen as crucial for the Wallabies at this year's World Cup in Japan, posted on Wednesday that "Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators - Hell awaits you".

"As a sporting industry, we must stand together and call out against any form of discrimination whether it is based on sexuality, race, gender or disability". We want to make it clear that he does not speak for the game with his recent social media posts.

Jones said Rugby Australia was acting against Folau to shore up the continued support of major sponsor Qantas, whose chief executive Alan Joyce is gay.

The comments were enough for Channel 4 to cut ties with the player, who had been signed up as the face of its European rugby coverage.

Vunipola's club side Saracens have said the player's comments are "inconsistent" with the team's values and they will handle the "very serious" matter internally.

The Rugby Union Players' Association accompanied Folau to the talks and revealed in a statement that he intends to honour his contract, adding that the RA's code of conduct must be followed during any disciplinary action.

It was touted that North Queensland could be interested in his services after Ben Barba received a life ban and they missed out on Valentine Holmes, who's in the U.S. pursuing his National Football League dream.

His actions have largely been condemned, but Vunipola made a decision to get behind Folau yesterday with a post on Instagram of his own.

Vunipola wrote: "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". It hurts to know that.

The NRL has slammed the door shut on offering a career lifeline to under-fire crosscode star Israel Folau.

"I don't believe it's right and I don't believe he should say it, but I don't think we should be taking the mickey out of his religion".

Rugby Australia stated they would be keeping the details of their discussion private and will update their respective Boards to consider next steps.

Folau also posted similar comments previous year, for which he was not sanctioned by RA, although he did acknowledge he had caused "grief to some people". Last weekend while playing for the Waratahs, Folau scored his 60th try, the most of any player in Super Rugby, breaking the record of former New Zealand winger Doug Howlett.

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