Rugby news: Danny Cipriani handed England lifeline after misconduct hearing

Cipriani is now free to play for Gloucester against the Dragons in tonight’s pre-season warm-up as he bids to impress England boss Eddie Jones.

In a mammoth hearing that stretched for the best part of five hours, in Bristol, Cipriani was grilled about events on a pre-season trip to Jersey with Gloucester but after courts and club had taken action he was let off.

Panel 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.”

Gloucester fined him £2,000 and told him to do 10 hours of community service and claimed the incident was minor and that should be that.

The Rugby Players’ Association then urged the RFU to drop their charge but they carried on regardless with last night’s hearing at Bristol’s Holiday Inn.

Cipriani has had numerous troubles on nights out before and his England future looked in jeopardy after this latest scrape.

Cipriani was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £250 compensation by magistrates in Jersey last week after the incident outside a local nightclub.

Gloucester weighed in with a £2,000 fine of their own – to be donated to charity – and also punished Cipriani with 10 hours community service and claimed it was minor incident.

The Rugby Players’ Association then implored the RFU to drop their charge but the union persisted with last night’s hearing.

Cipriani’s former team mate at Wasps James Haskell is adamant the RFU should not have chased the case and were influenced by social media.

The 33-year-old said: “I think it’s just time to move on. I think Danny was very good about the apology, he said it very well and I don’t judge him, I don’t think anyone should.

“People love to hate him, but I know him as a good hard working guy and it is time to move on. It was time to move on an hour after the court case – but a few ex-players and coaches threw him under the bus.”

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