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MX News Update 2024


Billy Vunipola escapes ban and fine from RFU after England and Saracens star was tasered and arrested during club trip to Mallorca

  • Saracens completed an internal investigation which was reviewed by the RFU
  • Vunipola was previously fined and given a suspended sentence in Spain
  • The 31-year-old expressed his regret in an interview with Mail Sport’s Chris Foy

Billy Vunipola has been given a formal warning but not banned or fined by the Rugby Football Union after he was tasered and arrested in Mallorca.

Saracens and England No.8 attacked an officer during a club visit in the Balearic Islands last month but were not punished by his club.

Vunipola faced an ‘explicit’ trial in court, where he was given a €240 (£205) fine and a four-month suspended prison sentence.

After Saracens completed an internal investigation into what was going on, the RFU reviewed the information provided by the Gallagher Premiership.

On Thursday, English rugby’s governing body confirmed they would not be throwing the book at the 31-year-old either.

Billy Vunipola has escaped a ban or fine from the Rugby Football Union
The Saracens star spent the evening with teammates at a bar called Epic in Palma
Vunipola was tasered twice at 4:30 a.m. after taking off his shirt and harassing other customers

“The RFU has reviewed the information provided by Saracens following its investigation into the incident involving Billy Vunipola in Mallorca on April 27, which led to the club issuing him a formal warning,” they said in a statement .

‘We have also considered Billy’s apology, his apparent remorse and the circumstances surrounding the incident and have concluded that the most appropriate course of action is to issue a formal warning under RFU Regulation 19.6.13. This warning will remain on his file for five years and may be relied upon in future disciplinary proceedings.

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“It has been made clear to Billy that, as an experienced and respected player, such actions risk bringing the game as a whole into disrepute. In particular, such actions clearly go against the core values ​​of rugby, which the sport collectively works hard to promote.”

Vunipola can now fully concentrate on the end of the Premiership season with Mark McCall’s Saracens looking to defend their league title.

Vunipola explained his regret over what happened in Mallorca in an exclusive interview with MailSport. He had been sober for two years prior to the incident.

“It’s once during the season and once off-season,” Vunipola said of Saracens’ foreign team trips, which have previously been crucial to the team’s success.

“The whole reason behind the trips is to get closer as a group and discover things about each other that you wouldn’t necessarily share freely in the locker rooms.

‘Drinking helps release inhibitions and helps people open up more. I have already made a number of trips and they were always a success. I caused a huge amount of embarrassment and put the spotlight on the club when they tried to do something nice for us. It’s disappointing that I let what happened happen by drinking too much. I’m very sorry.

The 31-year-old has discussed at length his regrets about the situation after the event

Saracens are keen to move on after the incident ahead of the rest of the season

‘My problem is that I don’t know when to stop and that’s probably why I stopped drinking for so long. I’ve never really been a regular drinker.

“When I drink, I get to a place where I probably forget what I’ve done. That’s why I quit.’

Saracens and Vunipola are now determined to move on from the incident, especially as the player’s remaining time at the club is limited ahead of what is expected to be a summer move to French side Montpellier. Saracens travel to Bristol on Saturday for a crucial Premiership match.

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McCall’s team is second in the rankings with two rounds of the regular competition season to go.

“As far as we are concerned, the matter is closed and we will now continue with the rugby,” Saracens director of rugby McCall said this week.

McCall also confirmed that Saracens will continue to make team trips abroad in the future, despite what happened with Vunipola in Mallorca.

“It was a really positive weekend for the group to spend quality time together away from training,” McCall said.

“That’s something the players are looking forward to because it’s been part of what we do for a long time. I think other clubs do that too.

‘We just try to connect the group a little more deeply than you can sometimes achieve in your daily work. It was a really positive few days, despite what happened. It was a very nice, well organized outing together after a tough match against Bath. With nothing there the following weekend, it was a chance for us to connect in a different way. I’m glad we did it.’

When asked whether the incident in which a drunken Vunipola was tasered twice before being restrained by several police officers – in what appeared to be an excessive show of force – would make Saracens reconsider traveling in the future, McCall added: “I don’t think so no.’

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said the row would not stop the club from organizing more bonding trips abroad

The Ulsterman went on to explain why the club only issued a reprimand, rather than imposing a more serious sanction on younger brother Vunipola.

“The only thing I would add to what the club has said is that when someone does something wrong, the first reaction does not always have to be to punish that person,” he said.

‘Sometimes you need to understand why what happened, to support and help.

‘We understand that people are human and make mistakes. Of course there is a limit and there are things you cannot tolerate. But more often than not, if it’s appropriate, we would like to give people a second chance, maybe even sometimes a third chance, if it’s clear they’re remorseful.”