Rugby star apologises for PM prank

England centre Manu Tuilagi stuck his fingers above David Cameron's head to give him 'bunny ears' during a photo shoot (Chris Harris/The Times/PA)

England centre Manu Tuilagi stuck his fingers above David Cameron's head to give him 'bunny ears' during a photo shoot (Chris Harris/The Times/PA)

First published in National News © by

A British and Irish Lions rugby star has apologised for playing a prank on Prime Minister David Cameron during a team visit to Downing Street.

England centre Manu Tuilagi stuck his fingers above Mr Cameron's head to give him "bunny ears" during a photo shoot of players and management at the function, to honour the Lions' victory over Australia.

Using Twitter to express his remorse for the playful incident, the Leicester Tigers centre said: "Apologies for messing around on Lions photo. No offence intended. Great Day at Downing Street. Thanks to Prime Minister for hosting us."

It is not the first time Tuilagi has been the centre of controversy as he was fined £3,000 by the Rugby Football Union after he jumped from a ferry during England's World Cup campaign in New Zealand two years ago. Tuilagi was cautioned by police on that occasion and disciplined by then England coach Martin Johnson.

Following his latest prank, Tuilagi's team-mates reacted on social networking site Twitter.

Ben Youngs, a fellow British and Irish Lion, England and Tigers player, tweeted: "The man@Manutuilagi just couldn't stop himself." The scrum-half later removed the tweet and posted a picture of himself posing outside 10 Downing Street.

Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns tweeted: "Great bottle from Manu Tuilagi! Haha. #chief".

Mr Cameron welcomed the victorious British and Irish Lions rugby squad for the reception on Monday, when he was presented with fly-half Jonny Sexton's number 10 jersey. He said: "It's a huge honour. My son, just because of you guys, has just started tag rugby. He will be so excited about this jersey."

Mr Cameron congratulated captain Sam Warburton and coach Warren Gatland as they brought along the Tom Richards Cup to Number 10. The Lions, comprised of players from Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland, won the first and third Tests to secure a 2-1 triumph in the three-match series with Australia during the summer. The players and coaching staff were joined by their wives and girlfriends for the event.

Some of the Lions party took the opportunity to visit the Red Lion pub before the reception, which is in Parliament Street, just down the road from 10 Downing Street.

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