English Rugby Football Union to meet Billy Vunipola after he defended Israel Folau's comments

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) says it does not support Billy Vunipola's views, after the England forward defended 'liking' Israel Folau's controversial social media posts.

Folau looks certain to be sacked by Rugby Australia, after he posted on Instagram that claimed Hell awaited "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolaters", unless they repented.

Vunipola is one of more than 30,000 people to have liked the post.

The RFU - the governing body for rugby union in England - said it intended to meet with Vunipola next week.

"Rugby is an inclusive sport and we do not support these views," it said in a statement. "We will be meeting with Billy to discuss his social media posts."

But the 36-test international took to Instagram to defend his action.

"So, this morning I got three phone calls from people telling me to 'unlike' the Izzy Folau post," he wrote.

"This is my position on it. I don't HATE anyone, neither do I think I'm perfect.

"There just comes a point, when you insult what I grew up believing in, that you just say enough is enough - what he's saying isn't that he doesn't like or love those people.

"He's saying how we live our lives needs to be closer to how God intended them to be. Man was made for woman to procreate, that was the goal, no?

"I'm not perfect - I'm at least everything on that list, at least at one point in my life. It hurts to know that.

"But that's why I believe there's a God - to guide and protect us, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us."

The RFU's comments are interesting, considering New Zealand Rugby (NZR) tried to distance itself from the issue, when flanker Vaea Fifita was also among the first to 'like' the social media post.

Screenshot of Vaea Fifta liking Israel Folau's post.
Screenshot of Vaea Fifta liking Israel Folau's post. Photo credit: Instagram

"New Zealand Rugby does not share the views expressed by Israel Folau, as they do not represent the values of rugby," it said in a statement.

"However, we understand that people have their own views and beliefs, which we believe should be expressed in a respectful manner."

It didn't clarify whether it thought a social media 'like' was a respectful manner.

NZR made history two years ago, when it became the first - and so far only - New Zealand sporting organisation to earn the Rainbow Tick for inclusion and diversity.