After pleading guilty to the assault of a police officer, Manu Tuilagi was told by Stuart Lancaster he would not feature in the 2015 Rugby World Cup
England centre Manu Tuilagi has been omitted from England’s World Cup squad after being convicted on three charges of assault and one of criminal damage. There are reports he assaulted a police officer. He was also fined £6,205 in fines compensation, charges and costs.
The Leicester Tigers centre, who has not played for England since June 2014, after a succession of injuries, was told by England coach Stuart Lancaster that he would miss the showpiece event due to his latest indiscretion.
Tuilagi’s absence will be seen as a huge blow to England, although his absence has allowed Bath’s Jonathan Joseph the opportunity to showcase his skills on the international stage. Having been used to coping without Tuilagi, Lancaster will now have to plot his England midfield make-up without the destructive Leicester Tiger.
Indeed, Stuart Lancaster bemoaned the loss of Tuilagi to injury in the wake of the Six Nations, after England narrowly lost out on points difference to Ireland.
Tuilagi pleaded guilty at Leicester Magistrates earlier this week leading England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster to inform him that his behaviour and subsequent conviction, that he will not be considered for England selection until January 2016. A similar tough stance was taken with Danny Care in 2012, after the Harleqins No. 9 had a number of brushes with the law and it seemed to have the desired effect who captains Harlequins this evening.
Lancaster said: “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. 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.”
Leicester Tigers Director of Rugby 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. While we do not in any way condone his actions in this case, Manu is a young man who has grown up in the public eye and he is a good professional in a top-level environment. He always gives his time very generously to supporters, particularly young ones, wherever he goes, and fully understands the role that the fans have played in his career. We will continue to work closely with him on his return to full fitness and look forward to his return to the field in due course.”
Manu Tuilagi commented: “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. The club and Stuart have been very supportive and I understand their sanctions too. I know as an England player the need to conduct myself as a good role model for the game. 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.”