England powerhouse Billy Vunipola has revealed why he will not take the knee before any of the 2021 Six Nations matches.
Vunipola was among 16 England players who took the knee before the Calcutta Cup loss in recognition of the fight against racism
That players took the knee before the match sparked a row, with fans both praising and blasting the action, which has become associated with the BLM movement and its left-wing leanings.
“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.”
The RFU has backed the players who made the choice not to take the knee.
Woodward picks Sam Simmonds in his England XV
- Fullback: Max Malins (Bristol Bears)
- Winger: Anthony Watson (Bath)
- Winger: Jonny May (Gloucester)
DID YOU KNOW? Anthony Watson started in all three tests for the Lions in 2017 and was one of the stars of the tour.
- Outside-centre: Pier O’Conor (Bristol Bears)
- Inside-centre: Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
Woodward said: “Max Malins and Piers O’Conor have been in excellent form for Bristol and have real gas. There is no substitute for it.”
DID YOU KNOW? Slade has Type 1 diabetes, and often injects insulin at half-time in a game