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Twerp Tuilagi's stunt does rugby no favours.

I SUPPOSE it was too much to ask the player who jumped off a ferry after England's disastrous World Cup of dwarf-throwing to behave on a trip to Downing Street.

Just as we were hoping the Lions news angle might be celebrating the biggest Welsh contingent at Number 10 since Lloyd George, twerp Tuilagi gave the Prime Minister the bunny.

Yes it was just a bit of deeply unimaginative fun. And it gave Cameron the chance to say "chillax people of Britain" and pretend he was one of the lads.

But in a football-saturated UK news agenda, rugby doesn't get the chance to hog the limelight often and Tuilagi's hijacking of the moment will just have confirmed the prejudices of those who think rugby players have the social skills of adolescent boys. From the Baa Baas who kidnapped a cow and took it for a promenade on Penarth pier to the drop-kicking of the Calcutta Cup around the streets of Edinburgh, rugby is, of course, no stranger to outrageous pranks.

But there is a time and place.

Tuilagi's actions deflected the attention from all those players around him, swapping the story from the recognition of a fantastic team effort to one individual acting like a bit of a prat.

As for the Saracens' puerile publicity gimmick - offering Bath fans a ticket-refund if Gavin Henson scores in tomorrow's Premiership clash - it just goes to show how removed marketing departments can be from the product they promote.

The Henson stunt is totally against the spirit of the game. Let's just hope Gav has a blinder.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 21, 2013
Words:263
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