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Mark McCall's response to Vunipola comments 'disappointing' - O'Connor

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

06:23 17 Apr 2019



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Wednesday Night Rugby discussed the ongoing homophobia issues regarding Israel Folau and Billy Vunipola, and Ruaidhri O'Connor found Saracens' response to the situation to be 'disappointing.'

The club released a statement outlining that Vunipola made a "serious error of judgement in publicly sharing his opinion, which is inconsistent with the values of the Club and contravenes his contractual obligations." They added that the player "has been formally warned about his future conduct.”

This response, added to McCall's neutral position on Vunipola when asked in press interviews about the furore, has led to

"I think that Mark McCall's been a little bit disappointing on all this. He has said that no-one wants to hear his views. As the leader of the organisation, and the director of rugby, I would be disappointed by that.

"There are very few players in rugby that have come out, since Gareth Thomas did so. There is still a culture to not do so until they are at least retired. For the head of that leading club to play neutral when his marquee player makes those comments is disappointing.

"Saracens have a chance to take a lead on this."

Ruaidhri went on to wonder whether the player making such comments had been of a lower stature within the game, whether the club's response may have been different.

Keith Wood took a slightly different view on the situation, citing the complexity that social media has added to public discourse in recent times.

"I think his speech was expressing his opinion, but not in as hateful a way as Folau was.

"We would all disagree with those views, but not everybody disagrees with those views. So for someone who is deeply religious, for him to say it in that fashion, I think that it is down the list in terms of severity. I think he has been open to a lot of criticism very quickly - Channel 4 dropped him very quickly, Saracens have reprimanded him.

"It is something that is incredibly complex. He put it out his views in a less than hateful fashion, even though they were unpalatable to most of us."

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