England Rugby’s Tuilagi Gets Fine, Police Warning for Auckland Ferry Jump
England center Manu Tuilagi was fined 3,000 pounds ($4,660) by the Rugby Football Union after being detained by Auckland police for jumping from a ferry as it was about to berth.
Tuilagi, who swam a short distance to a pier at the ferry terminal, was taken to Auckland Central Police Station last night, where he was “formally warned about the offense of disorderly behavior then released,” New Zealand Police said.
“This was an irresponsible thing to do,” England team manager Martin Johnson said in an e-mailed statement. “Manu has been disciplined internally and I have warned him about his future conduct.”
England was eliminated from the Rugby World Cup by France in the quarterfinals two days ago and is scheduled to leave for the U.K. today. The RFU will conduct a “robust” review of England’s campaign before deciding whether Johnson should continue in his role, Rob Andrew, operations director at the London-based governing body, said yesterday.
England’s defeat to a France team that had limped into the last eight after two straight losses followed on and off-field controversies at the tournament.
Johnson reprimanded three players for making inappropriate comments to a female hotel worker and also defended center Mike Tindall’s conduct after a night out drinking with teammates that attracted tabloid headlines. Johnson said any misleading information that Tindall, who is married to Zara Phillips, the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, gave as to his whereabouts that night was a simple mistake.
Ball Switch Ban
Two of England’s assistant coaches also received a one-game ban from the RFU for illegally switching a match ball during England’s pool match victory over Romania. The RFU was forced to act on the matter after tournament organizer Rugby World Cup Ltd. opened a misconduct investigation.
Samoa-born Tuilagi, 20, was earlier this month fined NZ$10,000 ($7,693) by the International Rugby Board for wearing an unapproved mouthguard carrying the name of a sponsor during two matches in the pool phase.
Tuilagi, who became the youngest England player to feature at a Rugby World Cup in the team’s tournament opener against Argentina, said he was “really sorry” for the ferry incident. Tuilagi’s fine will be paid to the tournament’s Christchurch earthquake appeal, the RFU said.
“It was a silly thing to do and I apologize to everybody for any inconvenience,” Tuilagi said in a statement.
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