In Brief

Danny Cipriani arrested: England rugby star charged with assault

Gloucester fly-half will appear in court after nightclub incident in Jersey

Danny Cipriani will appear in court today after being arrested and charged with assaulting police at a nightclub in Jersey.

According to Sky Sports, the incident happened at a venue in the St Helier area of the Channel Island in the early hours of Wednesday.

The broadcaster says that the 30-year-old England fly-half has “been charged with common assault, larceny, assault on police, resisting arrest and being disorderly on licensed premises”.

Due in court

Cipriani spent yesterday in custody and he will appear at Jersey Magistrates’ Court later this morning. The incident is not only deeply embarrassing for Cipriani, who was convicted of drink-driving in 2016, but also for his club, Gloucester, who went to Jersey as part of their pre-season preparation.

“Gloucester Rugby are aware of an incident involving Danny Cipriani in the early hours of Wednesday morning following an incident at a St Helier nightclub,” said a club statement.

“He was arrested and has since been charged by police. The club will be issuing no further comment at this time but will make a further announcement in due course.”

Cipriani joined Gloucester from Wasps this summer in what was seen as a new chapter in the career of a player who made his first start for England in a decade on tour against South Africa in June.

The “bad-boy” of English rugby first broke into the national team in 2008, but was abruptly dropped by then coach Brian Ashton when he was photographed leaving a London nightclub 48 hours before a Six Nations fixture.

Hit by a bus

Ever since controversy has never been too far from Cipriani - in 2011 he was fined by his club after allegedly stealing a bottle of vodka from a nightclub and two years later he was hit by a bus during a rugby club pub crawl in Leeds.

There were hopes he was maturing but according to The Sun there wasn’t much evidence of grown up behaviour at St Helier’s Little Drift nightclub.

The paper quotes a witness alleging that Cipriani was prevented by a bouncer from taking his drink outside the club: “An argument broke out, and neither man backed down. Things turned nasty and there was a scuffle as the duo spilled out into the street.”

Golden wrists

The police were called but Cipriani - described as being “unsteady on his feet” - appeared relaxed as he was arrested, even joking to the officers: “These wrists are gold, loosen the cuffs.”

The Daily Mail says that the charge of assaulting a police officer will be “vehemently denied” by Cipriani’s lawyer, who will argue that the player “placed his hand on the officer’s shoulder”.

Additionally, CCTV footage of the incident will be shown in court and the Mail says that Cipriani’s lawyer is “confident” that this will lead to the dismissal of most of the charges.

The dream is over

Nonetheless, comments The Times, the unsavoury headlines could spell the end once and for all of Cipriani’s England career.

England head coach Eddie Jones thought long and hard about selecting Cipriani for the tour to South Africa and eventually did so only after warning him about his conduct. He behaved himself in South Africa but not, it seems in St Helier, and the Times says that it “could be one of the most short-lived of comebacks”.

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