We’ve yet to fully determine the extent of the punishment handed down to England’s Manu Tuilagi and Denny Solomana after the pair were released from England training camp due to ‘team cultural issues.’
It’s been widely reported that the pair went out for a few drinks the night before a training session during camp and this clearly wasn’t the type of behaviour Eddie Jones expects as the two were immediately axed from the team’s preparations.
It won’t be until England’s next training get together until we realise the full consequences of the two players’ actions but Brian O’Driscoll, who played with Tuilagi on the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia, admits that although the Leicester Tigers player made a foolish mistake, he believes that he should represent England again.
“I’m a big fan of Manu as a person and a player. I’ve spent a lot of time with him in 2013 and he’s a real talent. I don’t have any bad words to say about him,” O’Driscoll told The Rugby Paper.
“He’s just been unlucky with injuries and silly decisions and what he did last weekend was very stupid just after getting himself back in the England setup. He shot himself in the foot.”
O’Driscoll sees a combination of Tuilagi and Elliot Daly in the centre and Owen Farrell at 10 as the future axis for this England team and believes that this could bring a lot of success. Although O’Driscoll admits his actions were foolish, he states that Tuilagi “didn’t kill anyone” and that it shouldn’t be reason enough to end his England future.
“If he’s fit and playing, well I think Manu can be a world-beater, so don’t get rid of him for something that was really foolish. He only had a few drinks, he didn’t kill anyone.
The main issue seems to stem from Tuilagi’s long disciplinary record which consists of a variety of offences and O’Driscoll believes that he is entering last-chance saloon territory.
“That said, he’s had too many second chances. He’s still young but he needs to get on with it now.”
Not many will argue with that and you would believe that Tuilagi is walking an even finer line when it comes to his international aspirations.
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