Billy Vunipola learns RFU punishment for drunken arrest and tasering

England international Vunipola was fined and handed a suspended prison sentence by the Spanish justice system for resisting arrest after an incident in a bar in Mallorca last month

Luke Baker
Thursday 09 May 2024 15:30 BST
Billy Vunipola discovered the extent of his punishment from the RFU for his Mallorca incident
Billy Vunipola discovered the extent of his punishment from the RFU for his Mallorca incident (Getty Images)

Billy Vunipola has discovered the extent of his punishment from the Rugby Football Union (RFU) after being arrested in a drunken incident in Mallorca during a team bonding trip with his club Saracens.

Powerful back row Vunipola was fined €240 (£205) and handed a suspended four-month prison sentence by an express trial after being charged with resisting the law following an incident in which he was tasered twice at a bar in Palma last month.

The 75-cap England international, who last played for his country in 2023, subsequently apologised in a statement, explaining that he struggled with “knowing when to stop” when drinking alcohol.

The RFU took time to consider what action they would take towards the 31-year-old and determined to just issue him with a warning on this occasion.

"The RFU has reviewed the information Saracens provided following its investigation into the incident involving Billy Vunipola in Mallorca on 27 April, which resulted in the club issuing him with a formal warning,” said an RFU statement.

“We have also considered the apologies Billy has provided, his clear contrition and the circumstances around the incident and have concluded the most appropriate course of action is to issue a formal warning under RFU Regulation 19.6.13. This warning will sit on his record for five years and may be relied upon in future disciplinary proceedings.

"It has been made clear to Billy that as a senior 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 collectively the sport works hard to promote."

Vunipola was at a bar in Mallorca when the incident occurred
Vunipola was at a bar in Mallorca when the incident occurred (Getty Images)

Vunipola also avoided any punishment from Saracens for the episode, with Sarries boss Mark McCall insisting that the forward’s misdeeds wouldn’t stop the club from continuing team bonding trips in the future.

The No 8 is expected to depart Saracens for Montpellier at the end of the season, bringing to a close an 11-year, trophy-laden stint in north London and – after being left out of Steve Borthwick’s Six Nations squad this year – is set to become unavailable for England selection by moving to France.

In a candid interview with The Daily Mail, Vunipola apologised for what happened and explained how drinking alcohol had impaired his decision-making.

“I caused a huge amount of embarrassment and put a spotlight on the club when they were trying to do something nice for us,” he said. “It’s disappointing that I let what happened happen, by drinking too much. I am very sorry.

‘My issue is just not knowing when to stop and that’s probably why I stopped drinking for so long. I’ve never really been a casual drinker. If I drink, I get to a place where I probably forget what I did. That’s the reason why I had stopped and the reason why I had a drink (last weekend) was because it was my last ever trip with the boys and I wanted to really enjoy it, but obviously I went too far.”

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