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McCall expects more Vunipola boos

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'It's probably better to expect booing to happen, and then wait and see'

Mark McCall expects fans to boo Billy Vunipola again after the Saracens and England forward’s official warning from the Rugby Football Union for a homophobic Instagram comment.

Rugby director McCall confirmed Vunipola will start Saturday’s Champions Cup semi-final against Munster at Ricoh Arena, then admitted the number eight must handle whatever crowd flak comes his way.

The 41-cap back-rower has been warned by both club and country after a social media post last week that read “man was made for woman to procreate that was the goal no?”

The England star had liked a social media post from Australia’s Israel Folau, that stated “hell awaits” for “homosexuals”.

Asked if he hopes fans will not boo Vunipola again, McCall said: “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.”

Wallabies full-back Folau was sacked by the Australian Rugby Union for his controversial Instagram post.

The devout Christian has pledged to accept his fate, while England star Vunipola has been warned about his future conduct after liking Folau’s post.

Asked if he was concerned for Vunipola’s mental state, McCall continued: “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.”

Vunipola had been booed by supporters during Saracens’ 23-21 Premiership defeat at Bristol on Saturday. He said in a statement: “I can see that my recent post has hurt people. My intention was never to cause suffering. My intention was to express my belief in the word of God.

“These beliefs are a source of great strength, comfort and guidance in my life. This is deeply personal and does not represent the views of my team. Anyone who knows me, knows I live with kindness and love towards ALL people.

“I have faith. My Christian faith has sustained me through the ups and many downs of my life. God has given and continues to give me many reasons in life to be grateful.”

– Press Association

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'It's probably better to expect booing to happen, and then wait and see'