Vunipola admits he has a drinking problem


English rugby star Billy Vunipola admitted he had a problem “knowing when to stop (drinking)”, as he tried to explain the circumstances surrounding his drink-fuelled arrest in Majorca.

The 31-year-old Vunipola appeared in court a week ago after an incident in the early hours of the morning at a bar in the island’s capital Palma. Among other things, the police had to use a Tazer shock device to restrain him.

The player made a public apology after he was fined €205 (about R4 000) in court for resisting the law.

Vunipola admitted he had been drinking again for the first time since August 2022 in anticipation of his final team-building session with Saracens, given his departure from the London club at the end of the season.

“My problem is that I just don’t know where to stop and that’s probably why I stopped drinking for so long,” said Vunipola in an interview with the British Daily Mail said.

“I have never been just an occasional drinker. When I drink, it’s to the point where I probably forget what I did.

“That’s the reason why I quit. The reason I drank last weekend was because it was my last trip with the guys and I really wanted to enjoy it. But I clearly went too far.

“I’ve been at the club for 11 years and I do silly things all the time, but they always seem to forgive me and accept me for who I am. I think it’s because they know this stuff is part of my personality – to break away and rebel.”

Vunipola maintains that he does not remember security asking him to leave the Epic bar after he took off his top. This led to the police being called. He also denied having any threatening attitude towards other customers.

The strong loose forward says a minor injury to one of the police officers involved was simply an accident after he bumped into the cable ties that were placed around his hands.

Footage shows Vunipola still standing after being shocked the first time with the Tazer device. A second shot caused him to collapse.

“I have two marks on me. Someone told me that people with more muscles are more affected by a Tazer than others. I think I was lucky that I had a little more stomach, because I didn’t feel it that bad.

“Even when I was on the ground, they were shocked that I still had the energy to fight them. Well, not fighting, opposing me. That’s what caught up with me.”

Vunipola is expected to leave Saracens at the end of this season and has been linked with French club Montpellier, among others.