Irish pundit blasts Manu Tuilagi's tackling
A controversial Irish rugby pundit, Neil Francis, has called for Manu Tuilagi to be banned from rugby for life claiming that dangerous tackles are “in his DNA.”
In his article for the Independent, former international lock Neil Francis said Tuilagi should never play rugby again after his illegal tackle in the Six Nations clash between England and Wales two weeks ago.
The Samoan-born centre received a red card and later a four-match ban for a shoulder-first hit which caught Wales winger George North high.
Francis called on his previous experiences with players from Tonga, Fiji and Samoa in determining what he considered an appropriate measure of punishment for Tuilagi.
"The stereotype still applies – for instance, they are engaging, friendly and spiritual people,” he said.
“The flip side is that apart from their obvious playing prowess, they are habitual dangerous tacklers – irrespective of who they play for, and even in today’s supposed climate of moderation and strict safety rules they don’t seem to be able to stop themselves.”
Francis said in Tuilagi’s determination to prevent North from scoring a try, he didn’t care about the consequences of an illegal tackle.
“That type of dangerous tackle is in him – it’s in his DNA and until his last game he will not change because he doesn’t see it as wrong,” he said.
The pundit brought up Tuilagi’s disciplinary record over his career, and encouraged readers to watch The Tuilagis – Rugby’s biggest thugs on Youtube.
“What you see in the video would mean 30 years of jail time if a rugby ball was not in close proximity,” Francis said.
“Their actions are shameful – if indeed they could recognise that feeling.”
He also questioned the idea that Tuilagi should be playing for England in the first place, given he faced deportation for overstaying in the country on a holiday visa.
“Given his prominence, fame and propensity to earn a very good living, you would think that Tuilagi would embrace England for the faith, time and energy it has invested in him. Not so,” Francis said.
“Every season since he started his professional career, he he has been given latitude and licence to get away with it.”
Furthermore the controversial critic made mention of an incident in May 2015 for which the now-28-year-old was convicted of assaulting two female police officers and a taxi driver.
“Maybe this boy is showing that he has no sense of right or wrong.”
Francis’ views are far from widespread in Northern Hemisphere rugby circles, with fans and pundits largely split on exactly how illegal the tackle was and what disciplinary action it merited against Tuilagi.