Bundee Aki: I have 'nothing but love and respect' for gay people

Bundee Aki in action for Ireland
Aki started all five of Ireland's matches in this year's Six Nations

Ireland international Bundee Aki has apologised for 'liking' an anti-gay social media post by Israel Folau.

Connacht centre Aki says he liked the comment by Folau without realising the substance of the post.

Folau has appealed against his sacking by Rugby Australia after saying "hell awaits" gay people on social media.

"I've family members, friends, and I've worked with many people who are gay and I have nothing but love and respect for everyone of them," said Aki.

"I do want to apologise for any confusion or offence this may have caused anyone and I will pay more attention to what I 'like' in future."

Aki issued a statement via social media saying: "I just want to address that I mistakenly liked Israel Folau's post without paying any attention to the content. When I realised what the post was about I immediately unliked it straight away, as it does not reflect my views as a Christian.

"Yes I do believe in God but my belief is that he is a God of kindness, peace and loves people in all aspects."

Folau, 30, has contested Rugby Australia's decision to sack him and his future will be decided at a code of conduct hearing on 4 May.

The committed Christian was expected to play for the Wallabies at this year's World Cup in Japan.