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RFU warn Cipriani over conduct


RFU panel makes decision on Danny Cipriani

Danny Cipriani has been strongly reprimanded by an RFU independent disciplinary panel, but has escaped further punishment.

The hearing in Bristol lasted almost five hours, with a statement coming from the RFU just before midnight.

“Danny Cipriani appeared before an independent disciplinary panel this evening charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game contrary to RFU Rule 5.12. This followed his conviction for common assault and resisting arrest in Jersey on 16 August 2018.

“Cipriani contested the charge but the panel comprising Gareth Graham (chair) with Mike Curling and Olly Kohn decided to uphold it.  The panel imposed no further sanction over and above Gloucester’s sanction and actions of the court.

“Panel chair Gareth Graham said:“Danny Cipriani is expected to behave in line with the core values of the game which include respect and discipline. Those core values are not empty words or slogans as the panel were reminded during the hearing.

“By his guilty plea before the criminal court, Mr Cipriani accepts that he behaved in a way that, in the panel’s view, fell below the standard of behaviour expected of a rugby player. The panel were supported in reaching that decision by Gloucester Rugby’s own internal disciplinary hearing finding that his behaviour fell below the standard that the club expects.

“Mr Cipriani is a role model and by committing an act of common assault and by resisting arrest, the panel find his actions are prejudicial to the interests of the game.

“The panel took in to account the sanction imposed upon Mr Cipriani by the court and the sanction imposed by Gloucester Rugby and when considering the totality of both, do not impose any further sanction. However, the panel do not agree that this is a ‘minor’ incident or ‘trivial’ and whilst they endorse the actions of Gloucester Rugby in fining Mr Cipriani and ordering that he complete 10 hours of work in the community, find that the decision of the RFU to bring a charge under Rule 5.12 was appropriate.”

It means Cipriani will be eligible for Gloucester’s Premiership opener against Northampton Saints on September 1st.

Earlier on Wednessday Gloucester named him in their team for a pre-season game with the Dragons on Thursday, where he was set to make his debut with the Cherry and Whites naturally keen to give their new England flyhalf some game time before the season starts.

On Tuesday the Rugby Players Association criticised the decision to press ahead with an RFU hearing after Gloucester sanctioned the player with a £2,000 fine along with 10 hours of community service.

The RPA said they were “surprised” by the RFU’s decision, adding “Given that it related to an off-field, non-rugby related incident that occurred on club time, and had already been dealt with by the Jersey courts, we believe that it was appropriate for the matter to be dealt with by the club through its own disciplinary procedures. As Gloucester have now completed this process, we believe this should close the matter. We will be raising this directly with the RFU,” the RPA said in a statement.

Last week Gloucester’s CEO Stephen Vaughan hit out at the RFU’s decision to haul Cipriani before an independent disciplinary panel.

“There is no historic precedent of a player being singled out in this manner, and we feel that this disciplinary process has been influenced by the significant media coverage of this week’s events and other external factors and not based on the actual facts of the matter.

On Monday the club described the disturbance in Jersey as a “minor incident”, something which the RFU has subsequently vehemently disagreed with.

Cipriani’s former Wasps teammate James Haskell has come to the defence of the flyhalf and told RugbyPass on Tuesday that he feel the 30-year-old had been unfairly treated.

“I think to be honest with you, it’s been mulled over and over-analysed and as always, pundits with too much time on their hands or paid for their opinions have either split opinion by being quite vehement or understanding. Life throws all sorts of different things in the mix. You have to understand and wait for the facts.

“If we’ve learned anything from what happened with Stokes (Ben Stokes, England cricketer), the world lives now by trial by social media, everyone has an opinion. Mrs Miggins at number 35 is suddenly an expert, people who know nothing about anything are experts.

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“I had to reply to one bloke who was telling me exactly why Danny had left Wasps. It was like me watching Oasis play through a shop window and then telling everyone how to play the guitar and how to sing which I know nothing about. Just because you think you know, doesn’t mean you know.

“I think it’s done, it’s done and dusted in my mind. He sent an apology, I think it was very well worded. I think I know him pretty well as a friend and an invididual. I think it’s time to move on. There’s plenty more to life than Cips and stuff that happened in Jersey. Everyone needs to calm down and get on with it. What’s done is done. In a court of law it was all addressed so we’re just conjecture and trying to steal headlines and put our two penny-worth in when nobody really cares.”

Last week Cipriani pleaded guilty to common assault and resisting arrest and was fined £2,000.

He was also ordered to pay a female police officer £250 in compensation arising from the incident at The Royal Yacht Hotel and Spa, St Helier.

Several reports claim Cipriani got into a disagreement with a bouncer after he wanted to bring a drink outside. According to The Sun witnesses heard Cipriani tell officers: “These wrists are gold, loosen the cuffs”.

Glouster Rugby had been carrying out pre-season training with the Jersey Reds on the island.

The 30-year-old, who has been capped 16 times for England, having come to the end of his second spell with Wasps at the end of last season.

The former Sale Sharks star returned to the England fold in June, starting the third Test against South Africa, having previously been overlooked for selection for three years.

He also counts Melbourne Rebels and Sale Sharks amongst his former clubs.

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RFU panel makes decision on Danny Cipriani