WATCH: Manu Tuilagi gives David Cameron bunny ears
David Cameron is the most powerful man in the country – but that didn't stop England and British Lions rugby star Manu Tuilagi playing the classic 'bunny ears' prank on the steps of Downing Street yesterday.
The prime minister was snapped with two of Tuilagi's digits sprouting from the back of his head, in a move sparking instant controversy on Twitter.
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— Alan Brazil (@sportsbreakfast) September 17, 2013
The tomfoolery has prompted many to begin questioning whether or not Tuilagi's chances of a future knighthood might be imperilled.
The Leicester centre has a reputation for high spirits, however – having infamously leapt off an Auckland harbour ferry after England's exit from the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
As practical jokes go, this is about as juvenile as they come. But that didn't stop mass delight at the unexpected move on Twitter.
Brilliant pic from Tuilagi! Cameron & his toff mates have been taking the piss out of the country since 2010, small payback
— Stu (@funky_stu) September 17, 2013
Manu Tuilagi- Proving that the rabbit ears photobomb can still be funny! Well done lad!
— Daniel Griffin (@DanGriffin21) September 17, 2013
I used to think that Tuilagi was a bit of a dickhead – he's rehabilitated his reputation as far as I'm concerned. Good man.
— Quins Jim (@quinsjim) September 17, 2013
Not everyone was completely impressed, however – including former England and British Lions hooker Brian Moore.
— matthew barry (@matthewbarry4) September 17, 2013
Tuilagi, if he'd unveiled a banner saying 'Why is primary school sport funding being cut in 2 years time?' I'd have been impressed.
— Brian Moore (@brianmoore666) September 17, 2013
Tuilagi – who at 22 is barely out of the 'youthful high spirits' category – moved quickly to apologise.
Apologies for messing around on Lions photo. No offence intended. Great day at Downing Street. Thanks to Prime Minister for hosting us.
— ManuSamoa Tuilagi (@Manutuilagi) September 16, 2013
But that prompted yet another wave of attention to the story on Twitter, with widespread dismay at the quick climbdown.
Manu Tuilagi: Lions Star Sorry For PM Prank – fuck me, we use to have a sense of humour what happened to it? http://t.co/0U8MD5KLcJ
— stephen lufc mot (@4n4lstevie) September 17, 2013
Re Tuilagi, how is this being billed 'latest controversy'? Just a young guy having a bit of fun. No harm done.
— Oliver Slow (@oslow99) September 17, 2013
#tuilagi ha ha and thrice ha. Has the world lost its humour? I would have given Cameron a wedgie.
— Queen of Bags (@queennoreen) September 17, 2013
The prime minister himself was fully focused on the official version of the picture – one in which Tuilagi was behaving himself…
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) September 16, 2013