The Aviva Premiership final began in frantic fashion on Saturday as big hitting midfielder Manu Tuilagi was penalised for a tip-tackle on Danny Care. He was cited, but that was dismissed, making him available for England’s tour of South Africa.
Tuilagi will fly out with England today as they take on the Springboks in a three-match series, with the first Test kicking off on 9 June in Durban, then the next two on 16 and 23 June.
His tour looked in jeopardy as he was cited for this tackle on Care in the opening minutes of the Premiership final between Leicester Tigers and Harlequins. A minimum suspension for such an offence would have been three weeks off.
Referee Wayne Barnes seemed to make the good decision at the time, stating that the tackle was above the horizontal, but not dangerous, and only penalised Tuilagi.
He was cited anyway though, pretty much overruling Barnes’ call. The charge was later dropped however, after a three-man Rugby Football Union disciplinary committee ruled that they were ‘not satisfied’ that 21 year old Tuilagi should be punished.
“An RFU disciplinary panel of Christopher Quinlan QC (chair), Dan White and Nick Dark was not satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the referee was wrong in not sending the player off for a tackle on Harlequins’ Danny Care during the Aviva Premiership final between the teams on May 26,” an RFU statement read.
“Tuilagi is therefore free to continue playing and will fly out to South Africa with the England squad.”
He spoke to Telegraph Sport after the verdict. “I’m really happy and can’t wait to get to South Africa with the squad. I thought it was a good tackle and I’d like to thank the panel for listening to what I had to say and coming to their decision.
“It is going to be a massive tour and I am just relieved to be able to take part.”
What are your thoughts on A) the tackle B) Wayne Barnes’ call, C) the citing being dropped?