16 May 2015

Tuilagi convicted of assualt, won't play in World Cup

6:01 am on 16 May 2015

The England rugby centre Manu Tuilagi will not play in this year's World Cup after being convicted of three charges of assault and one of criminal damage.

England rugby player Manu Tuilagi.

England rugby player Manu Tuilagi. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

A joint statement from the Rugby Union and his club Leicester says England coach Stuart Lancaster has spoken to Manu and informed him that, in the light of his conduct and subsequent conviction, he will not be considered for selection for England's Elite Playing Squads until January 2016.

Tuilagi was arrested in Leicester city centre at 3am on April 26th.

He 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.

Lancaster, who began his spell in charge by stressing the need for his squad to act as role models, decided not to consider Tuilagi for his World Cup training squad, which is due to be announced next Wednesday.

Lancaster says 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.

Tuilagi says he takes full responsibility for his 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."

Manu Tuilagi playing against the All Blacks 2014.

Manu Tuilagi playing against the All Blacks 2014. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Tuilagi, 23, last played for England against New Zealand in June 2014. He has played only four games for Leicester this season due to a persistent groin injury and has not featured since October.

Although he was seen as a key part of England's backline, producing a sparkling performance in the victory over the All Blacks in December 2012, it was looking increasingly unlikely that he would get back into the side in time for the World Cup.

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