Vunipola started Saracens’ Heineken Champions Cup semi-final against Munster after a week that saw him receive formal warnings from his club and the Rugby Football Union.
The booing wasn’t confined to pitch either, with fans giving the big backrow the bird as he got off the bus on arrival at the stadium. At least one Munster fan chose to sport a rainbow flag to make their point.
The England international posted on social media that “man was made for woman to procreate that was the goal no?”‘ and he also liked a social media post from controversial Australia star Israel Folau that stated “hell awaits” for homosexuals.
Continue reading below…
Vunipola was warned about his future conduct by Saracens and the RFU, but he lined up at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena in a team that saw his brother Mako return from injury.
Saracens Director of Rugby, Mark McCall said of potential booing: “That’s not something we can control, to be honest. Whatever happens, will happen. He has got to deal with that, and we’ve got to deal with that as a group. It’s probably better to expect it to happen, and then wait and see.”
Asked if he was concerned for Vunipola’s mental state and McCall said: “No. Billy’s sensitive, but I think he’s also strong.
“He’s also got a group who, he’s been with us for a long time now, and a group who support their team-mates. They get behind each other from a rugby point of view, and that’s what we’ll do for this weekend.”
Additional reporting PA
Watch the Heineken Champions Cup Final live on RugbyPass throughout Asia and Australia.