Wednesday 17 October 2018

Danny Cipriani 'truly sorry' for nightclub fight that leaves England future in doubt

Danny Cipriani. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images
Danny Cipriani. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

Duncan Bech

Danny Cipriani says he is "truly sorry" for the scuffle that saw him plead guilty to charges of common assault and resisting arrest.

The England-fly-half has been fined £2,000 by Jersey Magistrates' Court and ordered to pay £250 compensation for the bruised neck suffered by a policewoman during the confrontation outside the Royal Yacht Hotel in St Helier on Wednesday.

While his club Gloucester have come out in "full support" of the playmaker they signed in May, the Rugby Football Union has declined to comment leaving his England Test future hanging in the balance only two months after it was relaunched in South Africa.

Hours after his appearance in court, Cipriani used his Twitter account to release a statement expressing his remorse while emphasising the measured view of the magistrate on the incident.

"I want to start with a heartfelt apology. To my club, team-mates, supporters and most importantly the police," Cipriani said.

"They have a tough and vital job and I'm mortified that, earlier this week, I acted in a way that I hugely regret. I am truly sorry.

"I would also like to put on record the words of the magistrate Sarah Fitz who publicly stated that 'it was a minor incident' and 'a fine is more than sufficient'.

"I was wrong to argue with a bouncer, and pull on his camera tie. I was also wrong to resist arrest.

"This is why I pleaded guilty to these two charges and all other charges were dropped by the prosecution."

Cipriani initially faced additional charges of assaulting police, larceny and being disorderly on licensed premises after being detained in the early hours of Wednesday, but these were later withdrawn.

"I was initially confused as to why I was being arrested by three officers," Cipriani said.

"This led me to react in the wrong manner for a matter of seconds, seeking to hold off the police officers rather than accepting their decision.

"It goes without saying, given the words of the magistrate, that I didn't strike anyone or initiate aggression in any way."

A first start in a decade saw the fly-half set-up the crucial try in the third Test victory in Cape Town that ended England's six-game losing run, raising the prospect of his involvement in next year's World Cup.

But this latest lapse of judgement, which lengthens an already extensive disciplinary record, 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.

He 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."

Press Association

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