Gloucester Rugby have called the decision by the RFU to charge England rugby union fly-half Danny Cipriani “without precedent”.

It follows his decision to plead guilty to assault and resisting arrest after an incident at a nightclub on a pre-season trip to Jersey.

The club are deeply unhappy the decision was made before their own internal investigation was complete.

Gloucester say they feel the RFU have been influenced by the high profile media coverage of the case.

Gloucester Rugby CEO Stephen Vaughan said today: “We are surprised and extremely disappointed to have recently received notification of disciplinary action against Danny Cipriani by the RFU.

“Yesterday afternoon I received a personal assurance from the RFU that no disciplinary discussions would take place until we had completed our own conversations as stated in our club release.

“With the team in Belfast for tomorrow’s preseason friendly against Ulster, we had indicated that this would be carried out early next week following the team’s return.

“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.”

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