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RPA lash out at RFU

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Rugby Players' Association lash out at RFU over Cipriani

The Rugby Players Association in England has criticised the RFU’s decision to call Danny Cipriani before an independent disciplinary hearing over the incident while on a pre-season tour in Jersey.

Cipriani’s club Gloucester have already fined him £2,000 and the fly-half will also have to do an additional 10 hours of community service.

But Cipriani still faces an RFU hearing over the matter.

In a statement the RPA said: “The RPA was surprised to learn the RFU had charged Danny Cipriani with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game contrary to RFU Rule 5.12.

“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.”

But it appears those representations from the RPA have fallen on deaf ears, with the RFU later confirming that Cipriani would still face the charges.

In a statement the RFU said “In light of his conviction for common assault and resisting arrest, Danny Cipriani was on Friday charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game contrary to RFU Rule 5.12.

“Cipriani’s hearing in front of an independent disciplinary panel will take place in Bristol on Wednesday 22 August at 18:30. The panel will be chaired by Gareth Graham with Mike Curling and Olly Kohn.”

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

“We are surprised and extremely disappointed to have recently received notification of disciplinary action against Danny Cipriani by the RFU” he said.

“I received a personal assurance from the RFU that no disciplinary discussions would take place until we had completed our own conversations as stated in our club release.

“With the team in Belfast for tomorrow’s preseason friendly against Ulster, we had indicated that this would be carried out early next week following the team’s return.

“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.

“In summary, we do not agree with the RFU’s decision to embark upon a disciplinary process before we have concluded our own internal discussions and fail to understand the reasons for this approach.

“We do not believe that this decision and the subsequent unnecessary public attention that will now follow it is in the best interests of either the RFU, the club, the player nor the game in general.”

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Following Cipriani’s punishment by the club on Monday, a Gloucester Rugby spokesperson commented:

“Having reviewed all the facts and spoken to both Danny and Willi Heinz, who witnessed the events first hand, we are in agreement with the Magistrate in Jersey that this was a minor incident. While Danny is very apologetic for his actions, we do not believe he is guilty of bringing the game into disrepute and he will continue to get our full support.

“Danny has now faced disciplinary action from both the Courts and his Club and, with the new season about to kick off, our focus is very much on preparing for Northampton on the 1st September, so we will not be making any further comments on this matter.”

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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Rugby Players' Association lash out at RFU over Cipriani