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Munster issue statment on Vunipola

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Munster issue statement following Billy Vunipola spectator incident

Munster have issued a statement following yesterday’s incident in which a Munster fan confronted Billy Vunipola.

The number eight was confronted by a pitch invader following Saracens’ convincing win over Munster in their European Champions Cup semi-final at the Ricoh Arena.

A fan ran onto the pitch at the end of the match and appeared to confront Vunipola during the players’ lap of honour.

The pitch invader appeared to gesture to the Saracens player with his fingers.

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Munster have issued the following statement:

“Aligned with EPCR, Munster Rugby do not condone the entry of any spectator to the field of play.

“The incident following the Champions Cup semi-final at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday involved a spectator wearing a Munster jersey.

“The province wishes to confirm that the identified spectator is not a member of the Munster Rugby Supporters Club, and does not hold a season ticket with the province.

“Munster Rugby will investigate the incident further.”

Yesterday a spokesperson for European Professional Club Rugby said: “EPCR does not condone the entry of a spectator to the field of play.

“Following the regrettable incident at the Ricoh Arena, the spectator in question is currently being detained by the stadium authorities.”

Vunipola had been booed throughout the game after a week that saw him receive formal warnings from his club and the Rugby Football Union.

Vunipola spoke about the support he received from his Saracens team-mates following a difficult week.

Speaking after the semi-final victory, the England international said: “Behind closed doors I felt a lot of love, a lot of kindness shown to me. I am just very grateful to be part of this team.

“From my point of view, I believe in what I believe in. There was no intention to hurt anyone. I am just grateful to play.”

Saracens rugby director Mark McCall said he did not see the post-match incident, while a question on the matter to Munster boss Johann Van Graan at his press conference was blocked by one of Munster’s media team.

McCall said: “Billy was outstanding today, and so were all of his team-mates, to be honest.

“As a group, we were determined not to let this week pass us by because we work incredibly hard to be involved in weeks like this one, games like this one.

“And we ended up having a brilliant week, and you can see that in the performance today. You could see how tight we were.

“The club dealt with it (Vunipola social media posts). It’s been dealt with, it was dealt with decisively, it was dealt with quickly and it was dealt with, in my opinion, fairly.

“Then we just got on with the rugby, and that’s what we are here to do, get on with the rugby.

“I thought we played really well. Although the scoreboard said 12-9 at half-time, it didn’t feel like that.

“The thing that pleased me most was that the players understood that the scoreboard did not necessarily reflect how well we had played and what we were building towards.

“I was just really pleased with our intensity, which was relentless the whole game, and the control we had emotionally as well.”

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Munster issue statement following Billy Vunipola spectator incident