It's been a long time since England's Manu Tuilagi entered our mind. The powerful centre will miss the World Cup after being suspended following a late night altercation last April.
Tuilagi pleaded guilty to assaulting two police officers during the incident. It was reported at the time that he "grabbed a taxi driver by the throat and kicked the vehicle's wing mirror". When police were called, Tuilagi pushed two female officers in the chest as they attempted to cuff him.
But now, Tuilagi has decided to change his tune and denies any wrongdoing:
We pleaded guilty because we wanted the case to be done with. I didn't assault any of the police officers. It looks like I have basically beaten up the two police officer, which is not the case.
Tuilagi claims that the officers approached him from behind leading him to "just pulling (his) hands away":
They touched me first and I had no idea they were police officers.
Why did he not deny it at the time? Maybe it's just us - but waiting four months to change your mind after pleading guilty doesn't make any sense.
According to Tuilagi, he has his reasons for it:
I always own up to what I've done. I feel with this one that I've owned up to what I've not done. That's why I feel it's important to get my side of the story out.
In a way I feel like I've been harshly treated. It's a bit harsh, but life is harsh, You've got to put it behind you. I'm still young, I can still hopefully make a good comeback.
We'll see. Tuilagi won't be at the World Cup, but should come back from suspension next January.
Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE