Billy Vunipola was booed by some supporters when he came on during Saracens’ defeat at Bristol on Saturday

Billy Vunipola has been given a “formal warning” by the Rugby Football Union after the England and Saracens player defended Israel Folau’s social media post claiming “hell awaits” gay people.

The 26-year-old number eight liked the post by Folau and called for people to “live their lives how God intended”.

Vunipola, who has already been warned by his club Sarries, has been “reminded of his responsibilities” by the RFU.

During a meeting, the RFU said Vunipola had “expressed genuine regret”.

“The warning will be retained on his disciplinary record for a period of five years and may be taken into account in future disciplinary proceedings,” the RFU said in a statement.

“During the meeting the player expressed genuine regret at his public comments and understood that he had caused hurt and offence as a result of his actions.

“He has been reminded of his responsibilities as an England player and as an ambassador for the game, which values inclusivity and respect.”

Vunipola released his own statement