Billy Vunipola addresses reports he’d fallen out with England teammates

Despite reports in a number of newspapers, Billy Vunipola says his decision to not take a knee before England matches hasn’t caused any division in the camp.

Addressing the reports to Sky Sports, he said: “It’s been blown up. We’re a diverse group and we all support each others believes and respect them.

“I support them and they support me. It doesn’t matter what they think or what they believe, we’re on the same team and that’s the most important thing.

“When we’re on the pitch none of that matters.”

He has previously explained why he will not take the knee before matches..

“A similar situation happened with the Black Lives Matter movement last week when we were asked if we want to take a knee or not,” Vunipola told The Good, The Bad & The Rugby podcast.

“What I saw in terms of that movement was not aligned with what I believe in. They were burning churches and Bibles. I can’t support that.

“Even though I am a person of colour, I’m still more a person of, I guess, Jesus.”

And the RFU has backed the players who made the choice not to take the knee.

A spokeswoman said: ‘During the Autumn Nations Cup, Twickenham Stadium is featuring messages of support for Rugby Against Racism, Black Lives Matter and the NHS.

‘England’s men’s and women’s players and match officials are given the choice on how and if they wish to make gestures to help raise awareness for diversity and inclusion before the start of each game. 

‘The RFU supports any players’ decision and equally believes the plans off the England stage are as important in driving necessary improvement and change across all areas of our game.’


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