Monday 20 May 2019

'It was quite scary' - Billy Vunipola on post-match altercation with Munster fan

Billy Vunipola of Saracens runs past the crowd following the Heineken Champions Cup Semi-Final match between Saracens and Munster at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, England. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Billy Vunipola of Saracens runs past the crowd following the Heineken Champions Cup Semi-Final match between Saracens and Munster at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, England. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Saracens star Billy Vunipola said that it was 'quite scary' when he was confronted by a Munster fan after the final whistle of the Champions Cup semi-final at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.

Vunipola picked up the Man of the Match award after scoring a try in Saracens' 32-16 victory, but was the recipient of boos throughout the game and was confronted on the pitch by a Munster fan after the game.

The big back row came in for criticism last week after he posted on social media that "man was made for woman to procreate that was the goal no?", with Vunipola subsequently getting reprimanded by both his club and the RFU.

He also liked a social media post from controversial Australian star Israel Folau that stated "hell awaits" for homosexuals.

A few rainbow flags - symbol of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movements - were visible among the crowd in Coventry.

In a statement, 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."

Speaking to BBC 5 Live, Vunipola opened up on the backlash he received during the game and the post-match altercation.

"It was quite scary," he said.

"People say I put my foot in it so I have to deal with it," Vunipola said.

"It's not something I'm afraid of. I probably have to expect that it's going to 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."

"It was probably insensitive, but also something I strongly believe in," Vunipola said of his social media post.

"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."

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