Israel Folau is set to be sacked for his controversial social media posts, but Billy Vunipola has sympathy for the dual-code international.
England international Billy Vunipola has offered a defence of Israel Folau's latest controversial social media posts.
Rugby Australia announced plans to sack Folau after the Wallabies and Waratahs full-back sparked outrage with his opinions on homosexuality and gender this week.
Folau posted a message on Instagram that said "hell awaits" drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters along with "REPENT! ONLY JESUS SAVES". He had avoided punishment last year after stating homosexuals should go to "hell" unless they "repent their sins and turn to God".
The dual-code international also caused a stir with his stance on the passing of legislation in Tasmania that makes gender optional on birth certificates and allows people 16 years and older to legally change gender without parental approval.
Vunipola took to his own Instagram account on Friday to explain why he had 'liked' Folau's post, claiming his beliefs had been insulted but that he did not "hate" anyone.
"So this morning I got 3 phone calls from people telling me to 'unlike' the Izzy Folau post," Vunipola wrote alongside a picture of a Bible passage.
"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."
According to reports in Australia, Folau has been stood down by the Waratahs until further notice.