MAKO VUNIPOLA was proud of little brother Billy sticking it to the boo-boys and leading Saracens into the Champions Cup final.
England's No 8 was targeted by Irish fans and abused by a Munster fan who ran on to the Ricoh Arena pitch over his support for Aussie Israel Folau’s homophobic Instagram posts.
Inpho3 A Munster fan challenges England star Billy Vunipola after Saracens won through
Getty Images – Getty3 No8 Billy Vunipola put aside the jeering to help Sarries pull off an outstanding win
But, after helping Sarries into a their fourth Euro final in six years, 28-year-old Mako said: “As a brother you look out for each other. But he is a big boy who can take care of himself.
“I heard the crowd jeering him — it is one of those things that happens. You deal with it and move on.
“He did well not to respond, so fair play to him. We are all humans and we all have emotions.”
Vunipola, 26 — a devout Christian — was also booed at Bristol last week and warned by the RFU and his club after liking Folau’s post which claimed gay people will go to hell and then adding his own post saying ‘Man was made for woman to procreate’.
But his 71st-minute try clinched a 32-16 win over the Irish side and booked a date with holders Leinster in the final at Newcastle’s St James’ Park on May 11.
Prop Mako added: “The club dealt with it at the start of the week and we went out there and just focused on playing a good side in Munster.
“You can either use it as motivation and as a group you can either grow tighter or split apart. We knew we had to do it together. The boys went out there and fought for each other.
HUNT FOR THIRD TITLE
“Obviously Munster are a great side and it took us a while to break them down but that just shows the grit we needed.”
Munster officials are still desperately trying to distance themselves from the invader who abused Vunipola during Saracens’ post-match lap of honour.
On Saturday, they claimed the offender — who has been given a stadium ban from the Ricoh but not been charged — could have been a Saracens fan wearing a Munster shirt.
And yesterday they added: “The identified spectator is not a member of the Munster Rugby Supporters Club and does not hold a season ticket with the province.”
Saracens are chasing their third European title in four years after wins over French sides Racing 92 in 2016 and Clermont a year later.
But they also lost to Toulon in both the 2013 semi-final and 2014 final, and Clermont in the last four in 2015.
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Boss Mark McCall said: “This group has been through a lot together and it hasn’t all been good.
“We lost both the Premiership final and Champions Cup final in 2014 and the second one felt cruel at the time. So, they are tight, they are really tight.”
James Lowe, Luke McGrath and Scott Fardy all scored tries as holders LEINSTER beat TOULOUSE 30-12 in Dublin yesterday.
Getty Images – Getty3 Loosehead prop Mako Vunipola praised the strength of spirit shown by Billy