Rugby Union

England star issues public apology after PM prank

Tuilagi's young career has already been full of controversy. (©GettyImages)
Tuilagi's young career has already been full of controversy. (©GettyImages).

England and Leicester Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi took to Twitter to apologise for a prank he played on Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday.

Tuilagi was seen to make a two-fingered bunny gesture behind the PM's head as the British and Irish Lions squad posed for photo's at a function at Downing Street.

The occasion was meant to honour the squad who ended the Lions 16 year wait for a series win in Australia this summer, but Tuilagi's actions were more school playground than Downing Street reception.

Acknowledging his error of judgement, Tuilagi used the social network site to admit his mistake, he tweeted: "Apologies for messing around on Lions photo. No offence intended. Great day at Downing Street. Thanks to Prime Minister for hosting us."

The 22-year-old Samoan received an approving reaction from England teammates. Ben Youngs, who also plays for Leicester, tweeted: "The man just couldn't stop himself." While Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns tweeted: "Great bottle from Manu Tuilagi! Haha."

Both players deleted their tweets, with Burns even tweeting an apology of his own, saying: "Was not condoning Manu's actions in my tweet yesterday. Was just my immediate reaction to seeing the picture and was a poor tweet on my part."

Despite the initial approval of teammates, former England scrum-half, and a key man in the 2003 World Cup triumph, Matt Dawson, was far less impressed, he tweeted: "My view on Tuilagi/PM. I'm utterly embarrassed. When will some learn, there's a time and a place."

Tuilagi's actions have landed him in hot water before as he picked up two separate fines during the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

First he was fined £4,800 by the International Rugby Board for wearing a gum-shield bearing the name of a sponsor, before being fined £3,000 by the Rugby Football Union and given a police warning for jumping from a ferry and swimming to a nearby pier in Auckland.

Watch footage of the incident here, courtesy of BBC Sport.

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Topics:
England Rugby
Leicester Tigers
Rugby Union
Manu Tuilagi

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