Danny Cipriani is to be hauled before a Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing next week following his conviction for common assault in Jersey which has put his international career in serious jeopardy.
Cipriani, the England and Gloucester No10, will have to explain himself to English rugby chiefs to keep alive his hope of being part of England’s Rugby World Cup squad in Japan next year. England head coach Eddie Jones, currently in Japan, would have been informed of the charge that Cipriani is now facing.
The RFU statement today read; “In light of his conviction for common assault and resisting arrest, Danny Cipriani has been charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game contrary to Rugby Football Union Rule 5.12.”
RFU Head of Discipline David Barnes said: “We have high standards that we expect across the game, in line with rugby’s core values, from all those involved within it. I have this afternoon taken the decision to charge Danny Cipriani.”
Cipriani’s hearing in front of an independent disciplinary panel will take place next week with date, time and panel members to be confirmed.
Previous hearings under the same regulations have led to fines or suspensions and the panel will have the power to decide on the type of sanction if they impose one.
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The 30-year-old was fined £2,000 after pleading guilty for common assault and resisting arrest at Jersey Magistrates’ Court following an incident at a nightclub in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The England-fly-half was also ordered to pay £250 compensation to a female police officer, who suffered bruising to her neck in the incident at the Royal Yacht Hotel in St Helier.
Sir Clive Woodward has been a long time supporter of Cipriani but wrote in his Daily Mail column today; “Enough is enough. That was my first thought when I first heard the news of Danny Cipriani’s latest nightclub incident.
“When a few more details came through – especially laying hands on a female police officer while resisting arrest – I’m afraid that just confirmed my initial reaction. I say this with absolutely no pleasure, but when will Danny stop shooting himself in the foot? When will he start acting like an adult, a professional athlete and a role model? Ultimately the events in Jersey are all down to him. He has let so many people down again. Not least himself.
“For Danny, a night on the town with colleagues – a so-called bonding session – is an accident waiting to happen. Why put yourself in that situation?”
Steve Diamond his former boss at Sale took a different view telling the BBC; “”When you employ a rugby player, you know you are not employing the Pope.
“They are young lads, it’s still pre-season. They have gone away on a tour and are getting what they need out of it. An incident happens and I think if anything he should know a bit better than most as people are waiting for him to make mistakes.The magistrates have dealt with it quickly, he’s paid his fine, apologised profusely and we move on.”
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