Banned Tuilagi out of RWC

2015-05-15 22:09
Manu Tuilagi (Gallo Images)

London - England centre Manu Tuilagi will miss the Rugby World Cup after being banned from playing for his country having pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting a pair of female police officers.

The 23-year-old Leicester centre was ordered by Leicester Magistrates Court to pay a total of £6 205 in fines, compensation, charges and costs on Thursday.

Friday saw England coach Stuart Lancaster announce that Tuilagi, who has scored 11 tries in 25 Tests for England, would not be considered for selection in the national elite playing squads until January next year, ruling him out of the 2015 World Cup.

"As role models and ambassadors for the game, the highest standards of behaviour are expected from every England player both on and off the field," Lancaster said in a joint statement issued by the Rugby Football Union, Leicester and Tuilagi himself.

"Having spoken to Manu, he understands and accepts both the seriousness of the offences to which he has pleaded guilty and the consequences of his behaviour to his club, country and the game as a whole.

"England will continue to liaise with Leicester Tigers and have every confidence that the club will continue to support Manu in the right way."

Tuilagi said: "I take full responsibility for my actions and unreservedly apologise to all those involved in the incident, Leicester Tigers and England.

"It is something I deeply regret and I totally accept the sentence given by the court."

Tuilagi pleaded guilty to one count of assault by beating, one count of criminal damage and two counts of assaulting a police officer.

The incident took place in the Midlands city of Leicester during the early hours of April 26.

He lashed out at 03:00 local time when he got into an alercation with a taxi driver, whom he grabbed by the throat before kicking the cab's wing mirror in Granby Street in the city centre.

Two female police officers arrived to arrest him, but as they tried to put handcuffs on him Tuilagi pushed the pair of them hard in the chest.

"I know as an England player the need to conduct myself as a good role model for the game," said Tuilagi. "I am very disappointed because my actions have let so many people down, and I can only hope for a future chance to prove myself again."

Leicester boss Richard Cockerill said: "Manu knows and accepts his responsibilities and has received a significant punishment in being excluded from the England squad, and the club will also take internal disciplinary action."

Tuilagi has been sidelined since October with a groin injury but was expected to be fit enough to be considered for selection in England's squad for the World Cup, which starts in September.

However, he has not played for England since a 36-13 loss to New Zealand in Hamilton in June 2014.

Had he been fit and in form Tuilagi, might have been a first-choice centre at the World Cup, although he has also appeared on the wing, with his strength and pace making him a tough man to stop.

However, England do have plenty of other midfield options with Luther Burrell and Jonathan Joseph appearing in the Six Nations when Brad Barritt, renowned for his defensive skills in midfield was injured, with Kyle Eastmond and Billy Twelvetrees also pushing for a starting spot.

Samoa-born Tuilagi has a chequered disciplinary record, having infamously jumped off a ferry into Auckland harbour following England's quarter-final exit at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

He also caused embarrassment in some quarters when he appeared in a photo making a "bunny ears" gesture behind British Prime Minister David Cameron at a reception for the victorious 2013 British and Irish Lions squad after the combined side's 2-1 series win in Australia.

England begin their World Cup campaign against Fiji at Twickenham on September 18.

Read more on:    rwc 2015  |  manu tuilagi  |  rugby

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