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# Convicted
'I didn't assault any of the police officers' - England outcast Tuilagi
The 24-year-old centre has told his side of the story that led to his England exclusion.

ENGLAND AND LEICESTER centre Manu Tuilagi has defended himself after being convicted on three charges of assault and one of criminal damage in May, leading to him being left out of Stuart Lancaster’s World Cup squad.

The convictions resulted in Lancaster announcing that Tuilagi wouldn’t be considered for England duty until January 2016.

Tommaso Allan and  Angelo Esposito with Manusamoa Tuilagi Morgan Treacy / INPHO Tuilagi on the rampage against Italy during the 2014 Six Nations. Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

However, speaking at the launch of the new ‘Pacific Warriors‘ film in London, the 24-year-old midfielder said he would have missed the World Cup anyway due to a groin injury.

Tuilagi was fined £6,205 for pushing two female police officers following a disagreement with a taxi driver while on a night out in Leicester. The Samoa-born centre pleaded guilty at the time, but has now defended himself against those accusations.

“My side of the story is not out and this is my side of the story,” said Tuilagi, according to the BBC. “I always own up to what I’ve done. I feel with this one that I’ve owned up to what I’ve not done. That’s why I feel it’s important to get my side of the story out.

We pleaded guilty because we wanted the case done with. I didn’t assault any of the police officers. It looks like I have basically beaten up the two police officers, which is not the case.

“We started walking down the road trying to get another taxi and that is when the two police officers came along. They came up to me from behind and I felt someone try to grab my hands so I just pulled my hands away.

“That’s it. Basically, that is assault. You can just touch someone and that is assault. Absolutely they touched me first and I had no idea they were police officers. That’s out there and that’s why I want to get my side of the story out.”

Manu Tuilagi Ryan Byrne / INPHO Tuilagi will watch the World Cup from the sidelines. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

The fallout of the court convictions was that Lancaster announced Tuilagi would not be part of England’s World Cup squad on account of his misdemeanours.

The 24-year-old, however, stated last night that he had told Lancaster before the court case in May that he would not be fit to play in the World Cup following a nightmare season of injuries.

In a way I feel like I’ve been harshly treated,” said Tuilagi. “It’s a bit harsh, but life is harsh, You’ve got to put it behind you. I’m still young, I can still hopefully make a good comeback.”

Tuilagi’s words are at odds with the statement he made at the time of England’s announcement that he would not be considered for World Cup selection, with the powerhouse centre having apologised unreservedly in that instance.

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“It is something I deeply regret and I totally accept the sentence given by the court,” Tuilagi had said. “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.”

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