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Tuilagi apologises after jumping off a harbour ferry

Incident caps miserable England campaign

Manu Tuilagi
Image Credit: Reuters
Manu Tuilagi
Gulf News

Auckland: England's dismal rugby World Cup continued even after they were knocked out when centre Manu Tuilagi was cautioned by police for jumping off a ferry on Sunday.

The 2003 world champions lost in the quarter-finals to France on Saturday, ending a campaign marked by ill-discipline both on and off the field.

Tuilagi, England's most impressive performer in the defeat to the French, was cautioned after he jumped off a harbour ferry that was about to berth in downtown Auckland on Sunday and was fined 3,000 pounds ($4650) by his team.

Silly thing to do

"I'm really sorry. It was a silly thing to do and I apologise to everybody for any inconvenience caused," Tuilagi said in an RFU statement Monday.

A spokesperson for the ferry company said that a passenger had jumped off the boat from Waiheke Island just before 1900 (0600 GMT) on Sunday and was met by police at the wharf before being taken away.

"This was an irresponsible thing to do," England manager Martin Johnson said. "Manu has been disciplined internally and I have warned him about his future conduct."

The RFU said the fine would be donated to the World Cup Christchurch appeal. The Samoan-born 20-year-old also fell foul of strict International Rugby Board dress regulations and was fined NZ$10,000 ($7,664) for wearing a branded mouthguard, just days after his brother Alesana, who plays for Samoa, was fined for the same indiscretion.

Off-field incidents

England's campaign was undermined by several off-field incidents when the team was in the South Island, including reports of a heavy drinking session in Queenstown and disrespectful treatment of a member of staff at their hotel in Dunedin.

"The disappointing thing is that the off-field stuff doesn't reflect the team," Johnson said on Sunday. "There's some very good people here and they've done some good things on the pitch. That's 000.1 per cent but it's disappointing."