Danny Cipriani escapes further punishment from RFU
Independent disciplinary panel upholds RFU's charge of "conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game" but Cipriani faces no further action
By Liam Grace
Last Updated: 23/08/18 2:43pm
Danny Cipriani has avoided further sanctions from the Rugby Football Union (RFU) after he pleaded guilty to common assault and resisting arrest last week.
But the RFU's charge of "conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game" was upheld by an independent disciplinary panel on Wednesday night, although they decided the Gloucester fly-half has already been adequately punished.
Cipriani - who made his first England start since 2008 in the third Test against South Africa this summer - was fined £2,000 last week by Jersey Magistrates' Court following an incident that took place on Gloucester's pre-season tour.
The Gallagher Premiership club also fined Cipriani £2,000 and ordered him to undertake an "additional 10 hours of community service",
Cipriani, who attended the hearing accompanied by Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys and his solicitor, contested the RFU's complaint, but the three-man panel decided his conduct was worthy of reprimand.
The panel's 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."
The RFU's decision means Cipriani is free to make his Gloucester debut on Thursday night in their pre-season match against the Dragons at Kingsholm.
Responding to the outcome, Gloucester CEO Stephen Vaughan said: "Whilst disappointed at the verdict this evening, we accept the decision of the panel, particularly concerning the way Gloucester Rugby have handled the matter. We believe that the panel's decision not to impose any additional penalty endorses our approach.
"We now look forward to the start of the season and putting this incident behind us."