Tuilagi pens letter of apology to Prime Minister
September 17, 2013
Manu Tuilagi plays the prank on David Cameron © Getty Images
Leicester Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi will write to David Cameron to apologise for the prank he played on the Prime Minister while on a visit to Downing Street with the British & Irish Lions.
The players were at Downing Street for a function to honour their series victory over Australia in the summer. Footage showed Tuilagi giving Cameron 'bunny ears' while stood behind him for the official photocall. The photograph of Tuilagi playing the prank on Cameron was soon the talk of social networking site Twitter and the centre took to his account to apologise for his actions.
Ex-British & Irish Lions hooker Brian Moore has since labelled Tuilagi a "prat" while Matt Dawson said he was "embarrassed" by Tuilagi's actions.
And Tigers coach Richard Cockerill has said Tuilagi will apologise to Cameron. "It was stupid. He is a young lad but he should know better," Cockerill told the Telegraph. "I have reminded him of his responsibilities this morning. I understand that he apologised on Twitter last night but he is writing a personal letter to the Prime Minister to apologise for his behaviour and rightly so.
"He is in a privileged position and it is a very privileged thing to be able to go down to Downing Street and have that visit. Obviously he meant no harm but given the profile that he has you can't do that sort of thing. He knows as soon as he has does it that he shouldn't do it but he needs to understand that he is in the glare of the media the whole time and certainly the Prime Minister is."
Tuilagi is no stranger to controversy and was fined £3,000 by the Rugby Football Union for jumping from a ferry during the 2011 World Cup. He was also fined for wearing a gum shield with the branding going against the rules set out by the International Rugby Board for the competition.
But despite his latest brush with controversy, Cockerill said Tuilagi will not be disciplined by the club. "That's enough for me," Cockerill added. "He has obviously had his misdemeanours in New Zealand but he has always been good here disciplinary-wise. It is just a shame because there was nothing meant by it but it is probably a little bit of a lack of respect and not an understanding of how high profile he is."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Download ESPN's new UK multisport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.
The Heineken Cup proved once again just why it is the best domestic rugby competition in the world at the weekend and Monday Maul picks out some of the key talking points
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with scantily clad ladies, O'Driscoll and snow all featuring
"If I miss the first kick of the match, it shouldn't have any impact on the second. They are different entities." Tom Hamilton talks to Northampton Saints' Stephen Myler
It's time for those running Welsh rugby to stop trying to prevent its players heading to France and to start planning a future without them, writes Martin Williamson