An Irish rugby player who caused controversy by saying that gay people had “very little interest” in sport has apologised.

Neil Francis took to Newstalk’s ‘Off the Ball’ yesterday to make the claims, saying he thought gay people were much less likely to play sport than straight people.

Speaking on The Last Word on Today FM, Mr Francis apologised for the comments.

He said: “When I got home I had a listen to interview again and it didn’t sound like me at all.”

“I realise that I was in a field of land mines and I stood in one or two. The points I was trying to make were clumsily made, the language and analogies used were poor and poorly expressed and it’s unusual for me to be unable to articulate myself.”

Looking back he admitted that he probably “said the wrong things”, that certain things he said were “extremely clumsy” and continued that he “would like to withdraw those comments and apologise profusely and unreservedly” for offence caused.

He later asserted that his apology was in every way sincere, and that he wouldn’t have said it if he hadn’t meant it.