I am not a big rugby fan despite spending most of my formative years in Twickenham, the home of English rugby. Like most armchair sports fans however, I do like to support my national team in whatever sporting events are happening on the international stage so I have been keeping a keen eye on the events both on and off the field during the latest Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
With a less than impressive record during the competition on the field, the press attention has focused primarily on the players themselves and their not so exemplary behaviour. I am not going to comment here on the Mike Tindall saga except to say he has far from covered himself in glory but I am sure his new wife will know how to deal with his stupid behaviour.
I would like to comment though on the antics of Manu Tuilagi, the Samoan born Leicester centre. His first faux pas in the tournament was to wear a sponsored gumshield in flagrant breach of the World Cup rules. The RFU commented at the time that this was a “genuine error” despite the player’s brother Alesana being fined the week before for the very same breach whilst playing for Samoa! Manu Tuilagi was fined £4,800 by World Cup Officials – I have not been able to find out the amount of the fine levied on Alesana.
Already £4,800 out of pocket, whatever possessed Manu to jump off that ferry yesterday? A further fine of £3,000 and a formal police warning seems quite a heavy price to pay for a quick dip in the Auckland waters but lets not forget that he is an ambassador for our country while representing us overseas and as such he needs to be aware that the eyes of the nation are on him and his team mates and we expect better behaviour than this from our players.
Manu Tuilagi said that he wanted to play internationally for England where he has grown up, rather than for Samoa, his country of birth. He is only 20 years old and obviously still has a lot of growing up to do – lets hope he’s learned his lesson – only time will tell.