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Tuilagi ditched by England

Published 16/05/2015

Manu Tuilagi will not play for England at the Rugby World Cup
Manu Tuilagi will not play for England at the Rugby World Cup

England centre Manu Tuilagi is set to face further disciplinary action after seeing his World Cup hopes brought to a shuddering halt.

Tuilagi, 23, pleaded guilty to assaulting two female police officers when he appeared before magistrates in Leicester on Thursday.

Tuilagi was fined £5,500, and ordered to pay £705 in costs. The incident took place on April 26.

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

Tuilagi is understood to have grabbed a taxi driver by the throat and kicked the vehicle's wing mirror before pushing two female police officers in the chest as they attempted to handcuff him.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster announced that Tuilagi will not be considered for selection for the national elite playing squads until January 2016, meaning he will miss the World Cup later this year.

And Leicester rugby director Richard Cockerill confirmed ahead of Saturday's crunch Aviva Premiership appointment with Northampton that the Tigers will take internal disciplinary action against Tuilagi.

"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," Cockerill said.

"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."

Tuilagi, capped 25 times by England, has not played rugby since October due to a serious groin injury, but if fit, he was set to be a major part of Lancaster's plans for the World Cup, which is being hosted in England and starts at Twickenham on September 18.

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."

And Tuilagi added: "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."

Former England captains Lewis Moody and Matt Dawson, meanwhile, offered little sympathy for Tuilagi.

Moody told BBC Radio 5 Live: "For one of England's probably best players in the last couple of years to have been missing with injury for so long and to now put himself in a position where he is going to miss the World Cup is disappointing, and it's disappointing for England as well.

"But Stuart has absolutely made the right decision there."

And Dawson said on 5 Live: "I'm disgusted. I'm disappointed. There's no excuse, he deserves everything that he gets.

"He is potentially a great player for England, and it's so irresponsible. It's a massive loss, but England are going to have to suck it up and deal with it."

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