World Cup - Repentant Tuilagi fined for ferry stunt
Mon, 10 Oct 06:00:00 2011
England's rugby team has been engulfed by another scandal after Manu Tuilagi was detained by police for jumping from a ferry.
The RFU fined Tuilagi £3,000 as a result of the incident, which occurred on Saturday evening following their World Cup exit.
"I'm really sorry. It was a silly thing to do and I apologise to everybody for any inconvenience," said Tuilagi.
The fine is to be donated to the World Cup Christchurch appeal.
England manager Martin Johnson said: "This was an irresponsible thing to do. Manu has been disciplined internally and I have warned him about his future conduct."
The boat was coming in to dock just before 7pm on the Auckland waterfront in New Zealand when Samoan-born Tuilagi leapt off the back and swam to the pier.
Police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty said he was picked up off Pier 3 at the downtown ferry terminal and taken to the Auckland Central police station.
The player was formally warned about the offence of disorderly behaviour before being released back to the national team's management.
Youngs defends team-mate Tuilagi
Neither Ms Hegarty nor Fullers, which runs the ferry from Waiheke Island, could confirm a report that the incident was alcohol-fuelled. The RFU also declined to comment on this.
However Fullers said that the prank could have resulted in tragedy.
"It could have been tragic with vessels coming in here and someone jumping off the back of a vessel when it is going to be reversing shortly," general manager for service delivery Warren Fowler said.
The ferry incident continues a scandal-filled tournament for England, who lost 19-12 to France in the quarter-finals earlier on Saturday.
Centre Tuilagi was fined $10,000 (£4,800) by the International Rugby Board earlier this month for wearing a sponsored mouthguard, while his brother Alesana was also fined for a similar incident while playing on the wing for Samoa.
Former captain Mike Tindall, married to the Queen's eldest granddaughter Zara Phillips, came under fire for carousing with a blonde in a nightclub and trio James Haskell, Dylan Hartley and Chris Ashton were publicly admonished by manager Martin Johnson for making lecherous remarks to a hotel worker.
Two coaches were also banned for switching match balls before a Jonny Wilkinson place kick while the team's off-the-pitch bonding exercises have also been met with disapproval in the press, with many opining that acts such as bungee jumping which can cause the body undue stress are not appropriate when a team is undergoing a World Cup campaign.
"The disappointing thing is that the off-field stuff doesn't reflect the team," Johnson said. "There's some very good people here and they've done some good things on the pitch. That's 000.1 per cent, but it's disappointing."
Meanwhile England have checked out of their hotel ahead of the long journey home.Jonathan Symcox (On Twitter @jonathansymcox) / Eurosport