Billy Vunipola: Police were shocked I had the energy to fight them after I was tasered


Billy Vunipola

Vunipola had not drunk alcohol for more than a year but wanted to celebrate a final overseas night out with his Saracens team-mates – PA/Bradley Collyer

Billy Vunipola has admitted he never knows when to stop drinking after revealing police were shocked that he was able to resist his arrest despite being tasered following a night out in Majorca.

The former England No 8 was arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning for disobedience and assaulting a police officer, resulting in a €240 fine and four-month suspended prison sentence, while on a team trip with Saracens.

He was tasered twice by police officers at the Epic bar in Palma before being taken to hospital and sedated, having been asked by bar staff repeatedly to put his shirt back on before the bar was closed and the police were called.

Vunipola told the Daily Mail that he could not recall being asked to leave the bar and did not remember getting tasered, with the first taser volt proving ineffective.

Vunipola said: “Those with more muscle get more affected by [tasers] than those with a little bit more bedding. I guess I was lucky I had a bit more belly because I didn’t feel it as much! Even when I was on the ground, they were shocked that I still had the energy to fight them – well, not fight them, resist them, which is what I got done for.”

‘My issue is not knowing when to stop’

Revealing that he had been sober since August 2022 prior to the incident, in a bid to be at his best on the field for Saracens and England, Vunipola discussed his relationship with alcohol, noting that he did not know when to stop. He decided to drink again given the trip would be his last with Saracens ahead of a move to France next season with Montpellier.

“My issue is just not knowing when to stop and that’s probably why I stopped drinking for so long. I’ve never really been a casual drinker. If I drink, I get to a place where I probably forget what I did.

“My issue was not taking my time with my drinking. Whatever drink I had, I’d just take the ice out and get stuck into it. I realised too late that I needed to calm down.”

Discussing his arrest Vunipola conceded “I know when I’m drunk, I don’t listen to anyone” and that he normally takes off his shirt, while suggesting the injury suffered by a police officer was accidental.

‘The thing I do remember is them threatening [to call] the cops and me thinking, “Why? I haven’t done anything. Did I beat someone up?” They said, “No, you just won’t leave”. That’s what it came down to; drinking way too much and not listening to what people were telling me to do.

“The issue is that I forget how big I am sometimes, in a crowded place. I saw the interview that the (bar) owner did saying I was elbowing people, but I had no intention to be threatening.

“It was never my intention to hurt anyone. The recollection I have is that he was trying to put the zip-tie on my wrist and I tried to pull my wrist away. His hand and my hand got caught in it together. I just couldn’t comprehend why I was in that situation.”

Vunipola added that he broke down in tears when explaining the situation to his wife, adding that he had “ruined” the trip “for myself and for everyone else”.

‘Saracens know these things are in my personality’

Regarding Saracens, who considered the matter closed after rebuking Vunipola’s behaviour, the No 8 added: “I caused a huge amount of embarrassment and put a spotlight on the club when they were trying to do something nice for us. It’s disappointing that I let what happened happen, by drinking too much. I am very sorry.

“I’ve been at the club for 11 years and I do silly things all the time, but they always seem to forgive me and accept me for who I am. I think that’s because they know that these things are in my personality, to kick out and rebel.

“It’s hard to describe myself off the back of this, but I’m normally not like that and that’s what is the most embarrassing and disappointing thing; that I let that be what defines me. Well, that’s how other people will define me, but what’s important is that I know it doesn’t define who I am.”

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