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Gay rugby club Emerald Warriors welcomes apology from Neil Francis

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Emerald Warriors rugby club has welcomed the 'unreserved' apology from rugby pundit Neil Francis and said they hope lessons are learned from the episode.

The former Irish rugby international apologised "unreservedly and profusely" for his "extremely clumsy" comments surrounding homophobia in sport on Matt Cooper’s The Last Word yesterday evening and asked to retract his comments.

Speaking on Newstalk’s Off The Ball on Sunday, Francis claimed gay people did not generally have an interest in sport and that only a small percentage were involved in professional sport.

"As a sportsman you don't like ballet," he said, adding: "If you did a survey of the hairdressing industry, how many heterosexuals work in that?"

The comments sparked huge criticism and yesterday Francis offered his apologies for his ‘clumsily expressed’ opinions which he has since retracted.

The pundit spoke about his part in the documentary 'Queering The Pitch' about Emerald Warriors rugby club, an exclusively gay club that was set-up in Dublin and the club has welcomed the apology and believe valuable lessons should be learned from the episode.

“It’s always welcome to hear people apologising,” club president Simon Finnegan told the Irish Independent.

“It is about trying to educate people and maybe he (Francis) is aware that the comments he made aren’t reflective of reality.”

“Hopefully he has learned something from this,” he added.

Emerald Warriors will be competing at the Bingham Cup in Australia this summer, an international rugby tournament for gay teams.

The event was previously held in Dublin in 2008.

Online Editors