Cipriani to face the music in Paris
UPDATE: Danny Cipriani is to face a disciplinary hearing in Paris on Wednesday after being sent off in Gloucester’s European Champions Cup loss away to Munster last weekend.
The England flyhalf was dismissed for a dangerous tackle on Munster centre Rory Scannell in an eventual 22-36 defeat in Limerick on Saturday, with Cipriani seeing red as part of a crackdown on head-high challenges designed to reduce incidents of concussion-related injuries.
Tournament organisers European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) announced Tuesday that Cipriani would face a three-member independent disciplinary committee in Paris on Wednesday.
A “mid-range” ban would see Cipriani, overlooked by England coach Eddie Jones for next month’s Twickenham Tests against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia, suspended for six weeks for an offence where punishments can range from anything between a fortnight to 52 weeks.
“Cipriani was sent off by the referee, Alexandre Ruiz [France], in the 29th minute of the match for tackling the Munster Rugby centre, Rory Scannell (No 12), dangerously in contravention of Law 9.13,” said an EPCR statement.
Gloucester now have three rounds of matches in the English Premiership Cup, a tournament designed for emerging players, before resuming their top-flight English Premiership league campaign against Leicester on November 16.
Cipriani’s red card was the latest twist in an up-and-down year for the talented playmaker.
He was recalled by England on their tour of South Africa in June, making his first international start for a decade an setting up a match-winning try in a third Test win over the Springboks.
But in August he pleaded guilty to charges of common assault and resisting arrest following a nightclub incident while on a pre-season training trip to the Channel Island of Jersey with Gloucester. He was fined by both Jersey magistrates and his club.
He was subsequently charged by England’s governing Rugby Football Union with “conduct prejudicial to the interest of the game”.
The charge was upheld following a lengthy hearing in Bristol, but he avoided further sanction.
Last week then saw Cipriani omitted by Jones, casting fresh doubt on his future as an England player ahead of next year’s World Cup in Japan.
*Meanwhile, The Castres Olympique No.8, Maama Vaipulu will also face a disciplinary hearing after he was issued with a red card during his club’s Champions Cup, Round Two match against the Exeter Chiefs at Stade Pierre Fabre on Saturday.
Vaipulu was sent off by the referee, John Lacey (Ireland), in the 36th minute of the match for striking with his shoulder to the head of the Exeter Chiefs hooker, Luke Cowan-Dickie (No 2), in contravention of Law 9.12.
Jennifer Donovan (Ireland), Chair, Martyn Wood (England) and Andrea Caranci (Italy), have been appointed as the independent Disciplinary Committee for the hearing which will take place in Paris on Wednesday.
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