Monday 17 June 2019

Manu Tuilagi and Denny Solomona sent home from training camp by England boss Eddie Jones

Manu Tuilagi and Denny Solomona
Manu Tuilagi and Denny Solomona

Duncan Bech

Manu Tuilagi and Denny Solomona have been sent home from England's August training camp on the grounds of "team culture issues".

Press Association Sport understands that the Leicester centre and Sale wing have been disciplined for drinking alcohol during the three-day gathering in south-west London.

"Denny Solomona and Manu Tuilagi have been sent home today from England's training camp following team culture issues. We will not be commenting further," a Rugby Football Union statement read.

England gathered in Teddington on Friday for the first camp of the new season to begin preparations for their autumn series against Argentina, Australia and Samoa.

Neither Tuilagi nor Solomona took part in Monday's training session as they returned to their clubs, and head coach Eddie Jones is to decide in due course whether to take any further disciplinary action.

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

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

Jones cited the manner in which Tuilagi "demolished" New Zealand in a 38-21 victory in 2012 as the reason for continuing to invest time in a player who has spent so much time in rehabilitation.

"We're confident he's moving in the right direction, but he's still a hell of a long way away from playing Test rugby" Jones said on Friday.

"The more he works hard and diligently, the more chance he has of playing. It's nice to see him back training and back into it.

"He was a player that demolished New Zealand and we need those kinds of players.

"If he can get himself fit he can definitely make a strong return. If his motivation and desire are right, he can be an outstanding player for us.

However, Tuilagi, who was expected to be fit for the start of Leicester's Aviva Premiership campaign, has suffered a self-inflicted setback that has placed another cloud over a career full of controversy.

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