Danny Cipriani’s England future is in doubt after he pleaded guilty to charges of common assault and resisting arrest following an incident which left a female police officer with bruising.
Cipriani has been fined £2,000 by a Jersey Magistrates’ Court and ordered to pay £250 compensation for the bruised neck incurred by the officer during the confrontation at the Royal Yacht Hotel in St Helier on Wednesday.
Gloucester have come out in “full support” of their player but the Rugby Football Union has declined to comment and the 30-year-old’s international future now hangs in the balance only two months after it was relaunched in South Africa.
Danny Cipriani faces an uncertain England future (Paul Harding/PA)
Cipriani set up the crucial try in the third Test victory in Cape Town, his first start in a decade, ending England’s six-game losing run and improving the prospects of the fly-half’s involvement in next year’s World Cup.
But the latest lapse of judgement lengthens an already extensive disciplinary record and threatens to cast him straight back into the international wilderness so soon after succeeding in his two-and-a-half year quest to persuade Eddie Jones that he is too gifted to be overlooked.
Possibly signposting Jones’ reaction to the events in Jersey were comments made by England’s head coach in May when discussing his selection: “If he’s on the front page for any other reason (other than rugby) he won’t be with us,” he told Sky Sports News.
Jones added: “The baggage doesn’t worry me. It’s how he behaves in front of me. I can’t control what he’s done in the past. All I can do is control what he does in the future.”
England rugby player Danny Cipriani leaves Jersey Magistrates’ Court (Yui Mok/PA)
The Australian has been forgiving of previous transgressions by England players but he may now feel the initial assessment of Cipriani, which meant he was overlooked despite his outstanding club form for Wasps, was correct.
It was the desire to play at Japan 2019 that drove Cipriani to overlook offers from overseas to join Gloucester in May – and the club have backed a player who has yet to make a competitive appearance in their colours.
A statement by the Gallagher Premiership club read: “We are very proud of the culture we have within the group and the stated values which we strive to deliver against.
“Incidents of this nature are very disappointing to be associated with and we will deal with it in a robust but balanced way but based purely on the facts.
“As a high profile sportsperson there is often a large degree of public and media scrutiny involved, which Danny is well aware of.
“The incident in question was over in a matter of seconds and was a reaction to the conduct of other parties involved.
“He knows his responsibilities and is aware of the impact of this type of incident on the club.
“However, Danny is a Gloucester player and will receive our full support as we focus on the exciting season ahead.”