Manu Tuilagi was detained by police
Manu Tuilagi was detained by police following the stunt Reuters

An England rugby player was nearly mown over by a passenger ferry after he jumped from the back of the ship as it was docking into the Auckland harbour on Sunday.

Manu Tuilagi stripped to his "Dennis the Mennis" black and red stripy boxers and jumped off the back of the boat swimming to the nearest pier a few metres away. The stunt could have been fatal with the ferry imminently about to reverse into port which could have caused severe injuries to the England centre.

One eye witness said: "I saw him jump into the water when the ferry was about to reverse. He could have been mown over by the boat."

The 20 year old was met by local police on shore and detained for an hour before releasing him later that afternoon, with the England team due to fly back to the UK that same evening.

The centre said: "I'm really sorry. It was a silly thing to do and I apologise to everybody for any inconvenience caused."

The RFU fined Tuilagi £3,000 for the act.

The incident is the latest misdemeanour in what has been a disastrous World Cup campaign both on and off the pitch.