By Ali Stokes
Danny Cipriani will appear before an independent disciplinary panel in Bristol at 6:30pm tomorrow (Wednesday) despite heavy criticism from both the Rugby Players Association (RPA) and Gloucester Rugby's CEO Stephen Vaughn.
Cipriani was arrested in Jersey last Wednesday following an incident at the Royal Yacht Hotel in St Helier while on the island with his teammates.
The RPA released a statement earlier this morning, leaving no questions over the stance on the RFU's decision to cite the England fly-half last Friday.
The statement issued by the RPA read: “The RPA was surprised to learn the RFU had charged Danny Cipriani with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game contrary to RFU Rule 5.12.
“Given that it related to an off-field, non-rugby related incident that occurred on club time, and had already been dealt with by the Jersey courts, we believe that it was appropriate for the matter to be dealt with by the club through its own disciplinary procedures.
“As Gloucester have now completed this process, we believe this should close the matter. We will be raising this directly with the RFU.”
The announcement and confirmation of Cipriani's hearing was announced shortly after the RPA's, naming Gareth Graham with Mike Curling and Olly Kohn as panel members.
In a statement, Vaughn said: "There is no historic precedent of a player being singled out in this manner, and we feel that this disciplinary process has been influenced by the significant media coverage of this week’s events and other external factors and not based on the actual facts of the matter.
“In summary, we do not agree with the RFU’s decision to embark upon a disciplinary process before we have concluded our own internal discussions and fail to understand the reasons for this approach.
“We do not believe that this decision and the subsequent unnecessary public attention that will now follow it is in the best interests of either the RFU, the club, the player nor the game in general.”
The former Wasps man will learn his fate tomorrow evening, the day before former England teammate Chris Ashton will attend his own hearing in London following the red card he was handed by Romain Poite during Sale Sharks' pre-season game against Castre last weekend.
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