Rugby World Cup 2019: Ireland centre Bundee Aki sorry for 'liking' Isreal Folau's anti-gay post

NZ-born Ireland centre Bundee Aki
NZ-born Ireland centre Bundee Aki. Photo credit: Getty

Ireland's NZ-born rugby centre Bundee Aki has apologised, after he "mistakenly liked" an anti-gay social media post by Wallabies star Israel Folau.

Folau has requested a code-of-conduct hearing - it will take place on May 4 - after Rugby Australia issued him with a breach notice for his homophobic social media posts.

England forward Billy Vunipola was formally warned by his Saracens club and the Rugby Football Union, when he supported Folau's view on his own Instagram account.  

Vunipola was booed throughout last Saturday's Heineken Champions Cup semi-final against Munster and was also confronted by a fan during Saracens' lap of honour at the Ricoh Arena, after their 32-16 victory.

But Connacht midfielder Aki, who has won 17 caps for Ireland, apologised on his Twitter account.

"I just want to address that I mistakenly liked Israel Folau's post, without paying any attention to the content," Aki tweeted.

"When I realised what the post was about, I immediately unliked it straight away, as it does not reflect my views as a Christian.

"Yes, I do believe in God, but my belief is that he is a God of kindness, peace and loves people in all aspects.

"I have family members, friends, and I have worked with many people who are gay, and I have nothing, but love and respect for everyone of them.

Israel Folau and his social media post
Israel Folau and his social media post. Photo credit: Twitter/Photosport

"I do want to apologise for any confusion or offence this may have caused anyone, and I will pay more attention to what I 'like' in future."

Aki, 29, was born in Auckland and played 25 Super Rugby games for the Chiefs, before moving to Ireland, where he qualified for the national team through residency.