Wigan Warriors star Taulima Tautai "likely to be deported" after being convicted of drink driving
Wigan Warrior Taulima Tautai fears he will be deported from the country after being convicted of drink driving today.
The 31-year-old prop is also expected to lose his contract with the club after he pleaded guilty to driving while almost double the legal alcohol limit.
Related: Taulima Tautai left out of Wigan Warriors squad after court appearance for drink drivingTautai became the third Wigan player to fail a breath test in the last eight months, when he was stopped by police in the early hours of Sunday May 26.
Just hours earlier, he had played for Warriors in their Magic Weekend fixture against Warrington Wolves at Anfield.
CCTV operators had spotted him leaving a bar in King Street around 4am, before getting into a black Volkswagen Tiguan and driving away in the direction of Wigan Pier.
Police were informed and pulled the player over on Ormskirk Road in Pemberton a short while later, and he admitted he had “had a Stella” that night.
He failed a roadside breath test and was arrested on suspicion of drink driving, and while at the station he provided a further reading of 69mgs of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mgs.
Defending, Rodrigues Landu told a bench at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court that Tautai had suffered a concussion during Warriors’ 14-26 defeat to Warrington less than 12 hours earlier.
It was this injury, along with the medication taken for it and the alcohol he later consumed, that had led Tautai to “make the wrong decision to drive his vehicle.”
“He doesn’t usually drive after consuming alcohol. But on this occasion, he made the fateful, wrong decision to drive,” said Mr Landu.
“He accepts it was wrong to drive and that the concussion and medication did not give him an excuse to drive.”
Mr Landu then revealed that Tautai would lose his employment with Wigan Warriors following his conviction, and that he was “likely to be deported from the country” as a result of the drink driving offence.
It is believed that Tautai had recently applied for a settlement visa to live permanently in the UK, following the expiry of his “Sportsperson” visa, which lasted for six years following his move to Wakefield in 2013. If the Home Office blocks his application as a result of the conviction, he will have to return to Australia.
Magistrates disqualified Tautai from driving for 18 months. He must also pay a £1,200 fine, £85 in court costs and a victim surcharge of £120.
Tautai, who was left out of the squad for Warriors’ upcoming fixture against Leeds, is the third current Wigan player to be charged with drink-driving since last autumn.
Full-back Zak Hardaker was given a 20-month driving ban last October after testing more than twice the drink-drive limit.
And fringe player Craig Mullen, who has not played for the first-team this season, was banned for 12 months in April.
During an eventful season on and off the field for Wigan, prop Gabe Hamlin was also suspended from playing following a UK Anti-Doping violation. The UKAD is still investigating the case.