Players' union questions RFU's Cipriani charge
The Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) has questioned the Rugby Football Union’s (RFU) misconduct charge for England fly-half Danny Cipriani.
The RPA argues that a “non-rugby” nightclub incident has already been dealt with “appropriately” by the courts and his club, Gloucester.
“We will be raising this directly with the Rugby Football Union,” the RPA said.
The former Wasps and Sale back pleaded guilty to common assault and resisting arrest, following the transgression outside a club during a pre-season tour in Jersey.
The RPA says it is “surprised” to learn the RFU has charged Cipriani with “conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game”, as they consider it an internal club matter.
However, BBC Sport understands the RFU will press ahead with their action against the England back, despite the RPA’s objection.
Cipriani was fined £2000 after pleading guilty to assault and resisting arrest following an incident in a Jersey nightclub, and has also been fined the same amount by his club and ordered to do 10 hours community service.
“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 it was appropriate for the matter to be dealt with by the club through its own disciplinary procedures,” an RPA statement said.
“As Gloucester have now completed this process, we believe this should close the matter.”
Cipriani, who moved to Kingsholm in the summer, was fined £2,000 by Gloucester and has also been told by his club to do 10 hours of community service.
A Gloucester Rugby statement on Monday described Cipriani’s transgression as a “minor incident”.
It added: “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.”
Gloucester chief executive Stephen Vaughan previously criticised the timing of the RFU charge, which came before the club had finished their investigation.
The RFU hearing is scheduled to take place this week, although the date, time and members of the independent panel are yet to be confirmed by the governing body.
Police were called when Cipriani tried to grab a body camera from a doorman at Drift nightclub in The Royal Yacht Hotel, St Helier.
As well as being fined £2,000 by the court, he was ordered by magistrates to pay £250 compensation to a female police officer.
Three other charges – assault on police, larceny and being disorderly on licensed premises – were dropped.
His club fine will be donated to a local charity for sick and disabled children, and the players’ union charity, which supports players forced to retire through illness or injury.
As part of his community service, Cipriani will work with Gloucester staff to coach local children.
Gloucester begin their Premiership season against Northampton at Kingsholm on 1 September (14:00 BST).