Premiership: Bristol Bears 23-21 Saracens – Billy Vunipola booed as Saracens lose
|Bristol Bears (6) 23|
|Try: Luatua, Thomas Cons: Sheedy 2 Pens: Sheedy 2, Madigan|
|Saracens (7) 21|
|Try: Whiteley, Bosch, Adams-Hale Con: Goode 2, George|
Bristol beat Saracens to boost their Premiership survival hopes, as Billy Vunipola was subjected to boos after coming off the bench for the champions.
England international Vunipola featured for the London club just a day after he he controversially defended an anti-gay social media post from Israel Folau.
He was sent on after 50 minutes with Sarries 13-7 down and helped them reclaim the lead late on.
Ian Madigan, however, booted Bristol to victory with the last kick of the game.
Victory moves the Bears 11 points clear of Newcastle Falcons, whose prospects of top-flight survival were dented in Friday night’s defeat by Leicester.
A week of Saracens controversy
Defeat brought a turbulent week to an end for Sarries, with the club’s management of the salary cap also coming under renewed scrutiny.
On Friday, Vunipola was widely condemned after he defended “liking” a social media post from Folau, which claimed “hell awaits” gay people.
While Folau looks certain to be sacked by Australia for the comments, Vunipola was in action just over 24 hours after calling for people to “live their lives how God intended” and said “man was made for woman to procreate”.
Saracens have said they take the matter “very seriously” and that it will be “handled internally,” while the Rugby Football Union will meet the England forward next week to discuss his social media posts.
More to follow.
Bristol: Protheroe; Pincus, O’Conor, Bedlow, Leiua; Sheedy (co-capt), Uren; Woolmore, Thacker, Afoa, Holmes, Vui, Luatua (co-capt), Thomas, Haining.
Replacements: Fenton-Wells, Lay, Thiede, Smith, Heenan, Randall, Madigan, Pisi.
Saracens: Goode (co-capt); Maitland, Bosch, Tompkins, Lewington; Malins, Whiteley; Barrington, Tolofua, Lamositele, Isiekwe, Skelton, Clark, Rhodes, Wray (co-capt).
Replacements: George, Adams-Hale, Koch, Itoje, Earl, B Vunipola, Spencer, Lozowski.
Referee: Thomas Foley.
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