Scottish rugby legend Scott Hastings has entered the homophobia row engulfing the global game.
The former internationalist spoke out after an England player defended an Australian star facing the sack for declaring that “hell awaits” gay people.
He has called on the Saracens forward Billy Vunipola to “understand the hurt” he had caused by publicly backing Israel Folau.
The Waratahs player, who was expected to represent Australia at this year’s World Cup, is expected to have his contract terminated for his social media post.
His Instagram message stated: “Warning. Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators. Hell awaits you. Repent! Only Jesus saves.”
Vunipola has been dropped by Channel 4 as a pundit and is facing disciplinary action from both Saracens and the Rugby Football Union, the game’s governing body.
Hastings, whose son Corey is in a same-sex marriage, was responding to a video message from rugby broadcaster Nick Heath, in which he said: “As a gay rugby commentator, I’ve had enough of God-fearing athletes telling me I need to repent for my sins.”
Hastings said: “As a fellow rugby commentator & proud father of Corey Hastings & his husband Daniel Hastings you are absolutely right in what you are saying Nick.
“You should try & encourage the RFU & Billy V to meet you ASAP so he understands the hurt that [he &Folau] has caused.”
Folau has insisted he is prepared to give up playing the game due to his beliefs.
He said: “I believe in a God that’s in control of all things. Whatever his will is, whether that’s to continue playing or not, I’m more than happy to do what he wants me to do.”
Vunipola’s Instagram post backing Folau read: “I don’t HATE anyone neither do I think I’m perfect. There 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 pro create. 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.”
An RFU spokeswoman said: “Rugby is an inclusive sport and we do not support these views. We will be meeting with Billy to discuss his social media posts.”