LONDON: British and Irish Lions rugby player Manu Tuilagi has apologised for playing a prank on Prime Minister David Cameron during a photo call at Downing Street on Monday.

As Cameroon lined up for a picture alongside members of the Lions squad that secured a 2-1 series victory over Australia in July, Tuilagi put his hand behind the Conservative Party leader’s head and gave him ‘bunny ears’.

The incident was shown on several British news channels, prompting Tuilagi to express remorse. “Apologies for messing around on Lions photo,” the Leicester Tigers centre wrote on Twitter.

“No offence intended. Great Day at Downing Street. Thanks to Prime Minister for hosting us.” Tuilagi is no stranger to controversy, having been fined £3,000 ($4,800, 3,600 euros) by the Rugby Football Union and cautioned by police after jumping off a ferry during England’s World Cup campaign in New Zealand in 2011. Former England hooker Brian Moore described Tuilagi as a “complete and utter prat,” but suggested that he should be spared punishment by the rugby authorities.–AFP

“He ought to grow up, it’s as simple as that, but people saying they are offended — are they really offended?” Moore said on talkSPORT radio.

“The authorities I’m sure will do what they should do and say, ‘Manu, everyone thinks you are a two-year old, do you really want that? Now go away and grow up please.’”

Tuilagi’s antics at Downing Street garnered approval from his team-mates, however.

Ben Youngs, a colleague for Leicester, England and the Lions, wrote on Twitter: “The man @Manutuilagi just couldn’t stop himself.” He later removed the tweet.

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