Taulima Tautai departs Wigan Warriors in wake of drink-driving conviction

Taulima Tautai has left Wigan "by mutual consent" less than two weeks after being convicted of drink-driving.

Tuesday, 25th June 2019, 10:04 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th June 2019, 11:04 am
Taulima Tautai

The Warriors have issued a statement saying the prop, who joined from Wakefield ahead of the 2015 campaign, will be returning home to Australia.

He has not played since being convicted of being twice over the legal driving limit earlier this month.

Executive director Kris Radlinski said: “After a series of conversations with Taulima, it was mutually decided that he will leave the club with immediate effect after five-years at Wigan Warriors.

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"Taulima and his family expressed their wish to return to Sydney immediately to be closer to their extended family and we have facilitated that wish. We’d like to thank Taulima for his efforts at Wigan and we wish him and his family well for the future.”

Tautai made 132 appearances for Wigan with 125 off the bench - a club record.On leaving Wigan, Tautai said: “I would like to say that I am grateful to Wigan Warriors for the opportunity that they have given my family and I for the past five years to live out my passion of playing rugby league. After achieving great success at the Warriors I feel that the time is right for me to take my family home.

“This decision has not been an easy one to make but I feel it is the right decision for my family, and I am very appreciative of the compassion shown by Ian Lenagan and Kris Radlinski whilst we have reached this agreement.”

When Tautai appeared before magistrates earlier this month his solicitor said he would "likely" be deported because it would jeopardise his visa, but there was no mention of that in the statement.

He has not played since his conviction as Wigan carried out their own investigation.

Tautai 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 - hours after his appearance at the Magic Weekend.

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.

Wigan stood by both players and in Hardaker's case, he spent time at the Sporting Chance clinic regarding his relationship with alcohol.

Tautai becomes the second of Wigan's props who started the season to depart early; Gabe Hamlin is suspended after a UK Anti-Doping violation. His case has not yet been concluded.