England rugby star Cipriani dropped for 'inappropriate behaviour' after nightclub visit

Last updated at 16:32 06 March 2008

Danny Cipriani

Dropped: Danny Cipriani leaving the club at 12.30am today

Rugby's golden boy Danny Cipriani has been dropped from what would have been his first England test start, after being seen leaving a nightclub two days before Saturday's Six Nations match.

The 21-year-old was yesterday told to have an early night, but at 12.30am he was spotted emerging from the Isis nightclub in Mayfair, central London.

The Wasps star has now been omitted from the Calcutta Cup against Scotland this weekend for what the Rugby Football Union have termed "inappropriate behaviour".

Cipriani, whose England career could now lie in tatters before it has barely started, will not travel to Scotland with the England squad later today.

He is said to be 'devastated' at coach Brian Ashton's decision to axe him from Saturday's match.

Many of the player's colleagues, including his coach Shaun Edwards, have criticised the decision to drop Cipriani.

Edwards, the Wasps' head coach who is currently working with Wales in their build-up to the match with Ireland, was insistent that if Cipriani had gone out on a Wednesday night prior to a club game there would have been no disciplinary action.

Edwards said: “Danny was not drinking and had only gone out to meet a friend. He has done nothing wrong as far as I am concerned and was just trying to relax before the biggest game of his life.”

The RFU say no further disciplinary action will be taken against him but he has been warned and advised about his future conduct.

England head coach Brian Ashton said; "I have taken the decision regarding Danny and the matter is now closed. I will keep an open mind on selecting him for future games."

In his defence, the rising star has said he only popped into the club to deliver some tickets for the Murrayfield game to friends.

He stayed at the club for only 10 minutes and did not seem to have been drinking.

Scroll down for more...

Cipriani was released along with the other England players from their training base in Bath yesterday.

The London-based team members were allowed to return to the capital to spend a night in their "own beds" before flying up to Scotland.

Cipriani, whose dalliance with transgender Larissa Summers earned him the nickname DCWSWAM - Danny Cipriani Who Slept With A Man - from his fellow players, was said to have an urgent meeting with Ashton today where he learnt the news.

Only yesterday, England team nutritionist Matt Lovell explained how important it is for rugby players to maintain a balance in their lifestyles for optimum performance.

He said: "In a normal week they have Sunday off and they might take Monday for rehabilitation after a tough game - but after that, in a normal week before an international, they have to watch their intake. Even a piece of toast can upset your insulin balance.

"They must look after themselves in the build-up to the game. They know how to live and they are very good about it - better than footballers generally.

"You wouldn't want them to give up drink completely, but one or two units after a win is all I'd recommend."

His removal from the team could not have come at a worse time for Cipriani as he vies for a permanent place in the England starting line-up.

He only made his international debut this year during the opening Six Nations defeat to Wales when he came on for an injured Mike Tindall.

In the second match, against Italy, he was brought on to replace Jonny Wilkinson only to hand the opposition a try with a mis-timed kick up the field.

Many commentators have argued that he could soon become a permanent replacement for Wilkinson, whose form is not what it once was.

But the young player's removal from Saturday's squad will prove an embarrassing comparison to his more established rival.

Wilkinson is known for his disciplined approach, both on and off the field, and famously dedicated to his sport to the exclusion of almost everything else.

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now