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England's Vunipola regrets impact of Folau support on teammates

England's Vunipola has said he regretted his public support of Israel Folau's controversial social media comments. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

England No. 8 Billy Vunipola has said he regrets the way his public support towards Israel Folau's anti-gay comments impacted on his teammates.

Vunipola, 26, was reprimanded by his club Saracens and the Rugby Football Union after defending Folau with a controversial Instagram post.

The Saracens forward was booed by opposition supporters for the remainder of the season, but he doesn't want to be a distraction for the national team during the upcoming World Cup.

"The regret I would have is bringing my team-mates into disrepute," he told BBC Sport. "That was something I didn't really think about, which was probably a bit selfish from my point of view.

"That is something I don't want to happen here [with England]. I don't want them to be affected by one person's opinion.

"If I was a boxer I would happily sit here and talk to you about how I feel, how I think, how I stand. But it would be very unfair for me to do that right now, as it wouldn't be fair [on the rest of the England squad]."

Although the controversial views led to the termination of Folau's contract with Rugby Australia, Vunipola confirmed that he has moved on from the situation and will continue to use social media in the future.

Vunipola added: "We have talked about it at length, not just me, but me and the RFU and the people at Saracens. I have made my position clear and what I don't want to do is become a distraction to the players around me.

"I have made my position clear and what I don't want to do is become a distraction to the players around me.

"The English supporters especially enjoy seeing how we go about our day-to-day lives and the normal things like going for a coffee -- that is probably what people are most interested in."

England will face Wales and Ireland at Twickenham in August, and Italy in Newcastle on Sept 6 before their World Cup opener against Tonga on Sept 22.