Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Cipriani left out of Gloucester pre-season friendly in wake of Jersey incident

The England fly-half is expected to be in Belfast with his team-mates for the match against Ulster but will not play.

Danny Cipriani has been omitted from Gloucester’ squad for their pre-season friendly against Ulster on Saturday as he deals with the fallout from his nightclub scuffle.

Cipriani was fined £2,000 by Jersey Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to charges of common assault and resisting arrest following an incident that took place on Gloucester’s tour to Jersey.

The England-fly-half was also ordered to pay £250 compensation for the bruised neck suffered by a policewoman during the confrontation at the Royal Yacht Hotel in St Helier in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Gloucester have selected a 31-man squad for their trip to Kingspan Stadium but Cipriani’s name is missing to enable him to negotiate the aftermath of the latest disciplinary lapse to have propelled him into the headlines

As the club’s marquee signing for the new Gallagher Premiership campaign, he was expected to be involved in the first of only two pre-season friendlies arranged before the league opener against Northampton on September 1.

It is understood that the 30-year-old playmaker has travelled to Belfast with his team-mates but will be confined to a watching brief and will instead be given his debut against the Dragons at Kingsholm on Thursday.

His England career remains shrouded in doubt with Eddie Jones set to make a call on his future in the coming weeks as the autumn series against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia looms.

Jones names his next training squad on September 20 in advance of a brief camp in Bristol before selecting the players for the November internationals on October 18.

Sir Clive Woodward, England’s 2003 World Cup-winning coach and a long-term admirer of Cipriani’s, has called for him to be discarded by Jones.

“When I heard the news, my first thought was ‘enough is enough’, and when more details came through yesterday, I’m afraid that just confirmed my initial reaction,” he wrote in the Daily Mail.

bpanews_77cc8a0c-b87e-4946-81df-c0c64a5b33cf_embedded236509518
Eddie Jones must make a decision on Danny Cipriani’s England future, Gareth Fuller/PA

“When will Danny stop shooting himself in the foot? You have to trust every player on and off the pitch, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“Can Cipriani be trusted? I suspect Eddie will now decide that he can’t and, frankly, who could blame him?

“I am left to sadly conclude that Cipriani has never fully understood that – and now it’s almost certainly too late.”

Cipriani said on Thursday “I am truly sorry” as he outlined his remorse for an confrontation that threatens to remove him from England contention only two months after making a dramatic comeback.

A first start in a decade saw the fly-half set-up the crucial try in the third Test victory over South Africa in Cape Town, raising the prospect of his involvement in next year’s World Cup.

But this latest addition to an already extensive list of misdemeanours threatens to cast him straight back into international exile so soon after succeeding in his two-and-a-half year quest to persuade Jones that he is too gifted to be overlooked.

Possibly signposting Jones’ reaction to the events in Jersey are comments made by England’s head coach in May when discussing Cipriani’s 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.

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph