Billy Vunipola has been issued with a formal warning by the Rugby Football Union for a homophobic comment made on his Instagram account last week.

Vunipola was summoned to talks by the RFU to discuss a post that says "Man was made for woman to pro create that was the goal no?".

England's number eight was acting in support of Australia full-back and fellow devout Christian Israel Folau, who stated on social media that "hell awaits" for "homosexuals".

An RFU statement read: "Following a meeting between the RFU and Billy Vunipola, the Saracens forward has been issued with a formal warning under RFU rule 5.12 for conduct prejudicial to the interests of the union or the game." 

Vunipola has escaped a fine or ban, making him available for England's four warm-up Tests ahead of this autumn's World Cup.

The RFU statement continued: "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.

"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."

Saracens conducted their own internal investigation and, following lengthy discussions with Vunipola, a formal warning was issued but the club also opted against imposing a fine or suspension.

The English champions said he was guilty of a "serious error of judgement" and that by publicly sharing a view that is at odds with their values, he had contravened his contract.

In his own statement, Vunipola insisted his "intention was never to cause suffering", but stopped short of offering an apology.

Despite clarifying his position, the offending post remains visible on his Instagram account.