Manu Tuilagi 'made the wrong call' but knows 'he got it wrong' over England incident, says coach

Manu Tuilagi 'made the wrong call' but knows 'he got it wrong' over England incident, says coach

Leicester boss Matt O'Connor says Manu Tuilagi knows that "he got it wrong" after being sent home from an England training camp eight days ago.

But O'Connor claims he would be "very surprised" if the Tigers centre faces any further ramifications in terms of his future England prospects.

Tuilagi and Sale Sharks wing Denny Solomona were sent home in disgrace from England's training camp in south west London after returning to the team hotel drunk following a night out.

Both players missed the final session of a three-day gathering in Teddington, having been disciplined for an incident described by the Rugby Football Union as "team culture issues."

Press Association Sport understands that Tuilagi and Solomona went out on the Sunday evening and came back drunk, prompting England head coach Eddie Jones to banish the pair back to the clubs.

Jones is to decide if further disciplinary action is required, casting a shadow over their international futures, beginning with the autumn series against Argentina, Australia and Samoa.

"He understands that he made a mistake. He knows he got it wrong," Leicester head coach O'Connor told reporters at Welford Road on Tuesday.

Manu Tuilagi 'made the wrong call' but knows 'he got it wrong' over England incident, says coach

"He has come back with a renewed attitude. He understands what the standards are around the England environment.

"It was one of those things. He made a mistake, and retrospectively, he knows he made a mistake. He is moving forward now.

"I would be very surprised if it had further ramifications. Eddie is a smart guy."

It proved to be a particularly disappointing turn of events for Tuilagi, who was included in the 37-man training squad as a step towards reclaiming his England place following four injury-hit years.

The powerful 26-year-old has played only 17 minutes of Test rugby since Jones took charge in December 2015, and his last start at Twickenham was over four years ago, with his career being ravaged by serious knee and groin problems.

But Tuilagi, who has not played any rugby since January, is on course to be fit for Leicester's Aviva Premiership opener against Bath on September 3.

"The reality is that Manu made the wrong call, and he has learnt from that, hopefully, and he will be better for it," O'Connor added.

"He is working really hard.

"We made a conscious decision when he came back out of England camp to expose him to as much rugby as we could because he was incredibly frustrated with not being allowed to do weights, not being allowed to participate with the lads.

"He was isolated off the back of being in rehab all the time, and he wasn't doing all the things that he enjoys doing. We sat down with him and worked out what are the things that excite him about the environment and tried to expose him to as much of that as we could.

"It has been incredibly frustrating because he had been out of the team environment.

"He loves everything about the game. He loves the contact, he loves competing, he loves running with the ball, he loves defending. He is a pleasure to coach.

"He is doing really well. Injury-wise, he is flying, and in a lot better head-space. Hopefully, he will play against Bath in round one."

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