The Israel Folau saga has taken a scary twist, with England star Billy Vunipola confronted by an angry fan for his support of the Wallabies player.
Billy Vunipola copped boos and jeers after a week of controversy in a man-of-the-match performance that helped Saracens reach their third European rugby Champions Cup final in four years.
The No.8 was given formal warnings by his club and England’s Rugby Football Union during the week after he liked Folau’s social media post about hell awaiting homosexuals, drunks, fornicators and liars.
Vunipola put that aside to excel for Saracens in a 32-16 semi-final win over Munster in Coventry on Saturday, however things turned nasty when a fan ran onto the field after the game and verbally abused him.
Billy Vunipola was confronted by a Munster fan on the pitch after the game.
Roundly booed by Munster fans throughout the game. pic.twitter.com/lhEQRELzhu
— Murray Kinsella (@Murray_Kinsella) April 20, 2019
The fan in a Munster jersey invaded the pitch and pointed at Vunipola, before being led away by security.
“It was quite scary but I guess people say I put my foot in it so I have to deal with it,” he said.
“It’s not something that I’m afraid of, obviously it’s something that I probably have to expect will keep happening.
“It was quite a motivating factor that people were booing me.
“I wanted to back up my words and show my team-mates that I did not mean to distract them.”
‘No intention to hurt anyone’
Vunipola admitted comments he made on Instagram after the Folau post were “probably insensitive”.
“I believe what I believe in and there was no intention to hurt anyone,” he said.
“I’ll probably not be as honest as I have been about things that probably hurt a lot of people. I know that now.
“I’m not going to change the happy-go-lucky person I am. My faith is what got me to this position. It’s something I’ll stick by.
“It’s been awesome having friends supporting me, whether they agree with me or not.”