manu tuilagi leicester and england saxonsThe RFU have confirmed that Leicester centre Manu Tuilagi has been banned for five weeks for punching Chris Ashton in last Saturday’s Aviva Premiership semi-final.

Tuilagi, who pleaded guilty, was suspended from May 19 to June 22 by an RFU Disciplinary Panel of Disciplinary Officer Judge Jeff Blackett, Philip Evans and Jeremy Summers. He can play again on June 23. he was also ordered to pay £500 in costs.

Blacket said: “This was a Top End entry offence because there were three punches, the third of which was extremely forceful and caused significant injury. However we also determined that there was some provocation from Chris Ashton who pushed and struck him in the back with his knee.

“The Top End range is 8-52 weeks and we determined that the appropriate entry point within that range is 10 weeks. This was reduced by 50% to reflect Manu’s youth and inexperience, his admission of guilt and his genuine remorse.

Blackett added: ”This this sort of incident is very damaging to the image of the game and there is no place for this type of offending on the rugby pitch. Had it occurred in the high street an offender would have been prosecuted in the criminal courts. Nevertheless we are confident that Manu Tuilagi will learn a valuable lesson from this.”

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  • Realist

    I think it’s a bit rich to presume he’s recieving preferential treatment because of his England potential- Cueto is a regular on the wing and he still got a perfectly appropriate punishment. To clarify- the assault was aggressive and stupid, a mad rush of blood to a young head, and the ban is probably a bit lenient. But please remember this is the first such incident from him and he is a hot-headed 19-year old- I doubt any rugby player would be so arrogant as to do such a thing in a premeditated way. There is no need to demonise him based on one incident, however bad you feel it is- it is only if it becomes a habit for him that we need to worry.

  • Scott Guyan

    With incidents like this, how can the rugby community take the moral high ground against football in this country? I think young Manu is starting to believe his own hype ie that he is the next superstar England saviour.

    Would the RFU reconsidered if Ashton’s cheek bone or eye socket had been shattered? It was hardly a retaliatory “slap”. We may aswell recruit UFC fighters and go the whole hog.

  • Martin

    “Justice has been done”, “fair judgement”!

    I am surprised that even a Leicester supporter could condone what was basically an assault.

    I have played and been involved with rugby and my local club for years and I understand that our sport is very much of the contact variety. But surely a professional player, in the view of the media and supporters, in a very high profile game should be hauled across the coals for such an act.

    Surely as a player, even at mini level, you could expect to be pushed around. Surely a push for what was an off the ball, high and late tackle is reasonably acceptable. But to respond in that manner?

    Now, justify Tuilagi 5 week ban against Mark Cueto’s 9 weeks!

    I don’t not care if Tuilagi is the next sensation or lining up for England (Saxons) duty, he should dealt with in the appropriate manner and in a way that sends a message to players that cross the accepted line of physicality on the pitch. Players should be dealt wth properly to send the correct message out not only on the professional game but to grass roots!

  • Garry

    This is a completely disgrace and teaches the younger players the wrong thing about this great sport.
    I am very surprised that a Tiger supporter thinks justice has been done, if had been the other way round he would have been saying it is a disgrace and demand 52 weeks.
    I have lots of Tigers friends and they agree with me. It is extremely dangerous hitting people with such force in the temple, and could very easily cause brain damage or even kill someone, and this has come from a doctor.
    The citing commission has sent out completely the wrong message, as a rugby player of 46 years and still plays first team rugby over in Spain. The majority of my rugby was in the Uk.

  • Anthony

    This Decision is a total disgrace. 10 weeks should have been the least he recieved for what can only be described as an assault. If this was to happen on the street then you would be in court facing a charge of GBH! it totally wrong what the RFU have decided and as for provocation by Ashton, Sorry but thats rubbish. The only reason Chris pushed him was because the thug made a stupidly high tackle which almost took his head off. so i think that minor push in the back all be it shouldnt have happened but was justified but to then get up and take THREE solid punches to hiss head which caused chris to recive stitches is totally wrong. What sort of picture does this portray to young grass roots players??

  • Nicola J

    Good to see justice done and it be shown the mitigating circumstances of provocation by Ashton. Manu Tuilagi is not a nasty or dirty player, his size and bulk make it even worse for him. You cannot condone but respect to the panel for this fair judgement. I’m impressed! as a Tigers supporter that’s saying something.

  • James Brown

    Tuilagi’s 5 week ban is a disgrace and makes a mockery of violent abuse on the pitch. Why have no criminal proceedings been made against him, as would have happened if this incident occurred off the pitch?
    The RFU should be setting an example to all players both at senior and junior levels and the reduction from 10 weeks to 5 weeks cannot be justified.