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Tuilagi feared his Mum's reaction after ferry jump

Manu Tuilagi says he is ‘disappointed’ with himself after hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons during the Rugby World Cup.
Oct 16th 2011, 2:40 PM 818 0

MANU TUILAGI HAS apologised for his recent behaviour in New Zealand and admitted that he left his family, England coach Martin Johnson and his country down.

The 20-year-old centre was officially warned by Kiwi police after jumping off a ferry into Auckland harbour following his nation’s exit from the Rugby World Cup, and revealed that it was his mother’s reaction he feared the most once he realised the consequences of his actions.

“It was a nice day, I was sore after the game and I thought it would be good for recovery,’ he explained in an interview with the Mail on Sunday. “It was such a stupid thing to do.

“I was on the ferry with all the Leicester lads in the team and when I mentioned doing it to them, they all said I was all talk and I wouldn’t follow it through.

“I had to prove them wrong, of course. I’m not blaming anyone but myself.”

He continued: “I was a bit worried about Johnno’s reaction but I was a lot more worried about my family, especially my Mum. She wasn’t at all happy and she didn’t even know the whole story at first.

“She just thought I’d been fined for swimming in the harbour. When she found out I’d jumped from a ferry she called me an idiot, stupid – in fact, every name in the book.”

Although Leicester Tigers’ director of rugby Richard Cockerill also “had a go” at Tuilagi in private, he has since publicly backed his player.

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“He’s a young man and young men make mistakes,” he insisted to the BBC. “That’s a shame because he’s a fantastic player and England can build a good side around him.”

The incident, however, was just one of several controversies involving Johnson’s troops during their time in New Zealand. Mike Tindall was caught up in a media storm after footage emerged of him cuddling and being kissed on the head by a woman in a late-night bar and three players – James Haskell, Dylan Hartley and Chris Ashton – were also reprimanded for comments they made to a hotel staff member.

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Niamh O'Mahony


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