Jones leaves door ajar for shamed rugby duo

Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


Manu Tuilagi and Denny Solomona can return to the England rugby squad despite being sent home reportedly for being drunk from a training camp in August, said head coach Eddie Jones on Tuesday.

The 57-year-old Australian said as long as their attitude was judged to be right then they could be selected again.

Should Tuilagi, who has a history of indiscretions,and New Zealand-born Solomona, who made an immediate impression after switching codes and made his debut on the close season tour of Argentina, show enough contrition and form it could earn them a recall for the November Tests.

Heartening for Jones is Tuilagi's club coach at Leicester Matt O'Connor has said that he has acknowledged making a mistake and changed his attitude completely.

"Everyone makes bad mistakes, we?ve all done it," said Jones who has transformed England's fortunes since taking over after the traumatic first round exit from the 2015 World Cup.

"So we will just assess them over the next period of time and if they?re eligible for selection and if I meet with them -- and I?ve met one of them already face to face (Tuilagi) -- and if their attitude is right then we will pick them.

"If they?re not, then we won?t pick them."

Jones, who has guided England to the past two Six Nations titles beginning with the Grand Slam in 2016, said Tuilagi was on his final warning with him.

"He?s only done it once with me," said Jones, who was speaking after appearing at the Soccerex Global Convention.

"Same with Dylan (referring to England captain Dylan Hartley's poor disciplinary record on the pitch).

"Everyone talks about previous records but he's only done it once with me.

"If he does it again, then he?ll maybe spending a lot more time in the Midlands."

Despite Hartley having expressed his disappointment at the duo's behaviour and that they had let the squad down Jones said it was time to move on.

"These things happen. It?s a poor choice," sad Jones.

"They understand they made a poor choice, the team understand they made a poor choice.

"It's all over now. They?ve done it. They?ve made a poor choice, now they?re moving on. Everyone wants people to do well."

Tuilagi's indiscretion embarrassingly came just days after Jones said the midfielder was worth persevering with, citing his try-scoring performance during a 38-21 win over world champions New Zealand at Twickenham in 2012.

Tuilagi has played Test rugby just once in the past three years because of a variety of injury problems.pi/nr