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Cipriani axed by England after night out

  • Story Highlights
  • Danny Cipriani axed by England for Calcutta Cup tie in Scotland on Saturday
  • Cipriani's fullback role has been handed to Gloucester player Iain Balshaw
  • The 20-year-old Wasps star is dropped following his "inappropriate behavior."
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LONDON, England -- England have axed Danny Cipriani from the team for Saturday's Calcutta Cup clash against Scotland at Murrayfield following the player's "inappropriate behavior."

Wasps star Cipriani has been axed by England after being pictured leaving a nightclub in the early hours.

The matter is understood to revolve around 20-year-old Wasps star Cipriani being pictured leaving a London nightclub after midnight.

He is replaced at fullback by Gloucester's Iain Balshaw, who had originally made way for Cipriani to make his full England debut.

Balshaw's place on the bench goes to Sale Sharks fly-half Charlie Hodgson.

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."

The Rugby Football Union say Cipriani has been warned and advised about his future conduct and will not travel to Scotland with the England squad.

Cipriani's two previous England appearances both came during the current Six Nations campaign as a substitute against Wales and Italy.

Ashton had made two other changes from the side that beat France 24-13 in Paris 10 days ago.

Bath hooker Lee Mears is preferred to Bristol veteran Mark Regan, who misses out completely, with Leicester forward George Chuter providing bench cover.

It will be Mears' 22nd cap, but only his fourth start, and first since England faced South Africa at Twickenham in November 2006.

Ashton's decision could signal the end for 36-year-old Regan as an international player after 46 caps during a Test career that started more than 12 years ago.

Chuter, meanwhile, has not been on England Test duty since the World Cup last autumn.

The other switch is enforced, as Leicester flanker Tom Croft takes over from Wasps' James Haskell. Haskell suffered an ankle injury during the France clash and was replaced by Croft barely 20 minutes into the game.

England: I Balshaw (Gloucester; P Sackey (Wasps), J Noon (Newcastle), T Flood (Newcastle), L Vainikolo (Gloucester); J Wilkinson (Newcastle), R Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks); A Sheridan (Sale Sharks), L Mears (Bath), P Vickery (Wasps, capt), S Shaw (Wasps), S Borthwick (Bath), T Croft (Leicester), M Lipman (Bath), N Easter (Harlequins).

Replacements: G Chuter (Leicester), M Stevens (Bath), B Kay (Leicester), L Narraway (Gloucester), P Hodgson (London Irish), M Tait (Newcastle), C Hodgson (Sale Sharks).

Rob Kearney will start at full-back for Ireland's Six Nations clash with Wales after Geordan Murphy and Girvan Dempsey failed fitness tests.

Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan was prepared to give rivals Murphy and Dempsey until lunchtime to prove their availability for Saturday's Croke Park showdown.

But their failure to recover in time has forced O'Sullivan to implement his contingency plan with Kearney of Leinster moving from left wing to full-back.

Ulster's Tommy Bowe switches flanks to take Kearney's place on the left, Shane Horgan is promoted from the bench to plug the gap at 14 and Luke Fitzgerald is called onto the bench.

An Irish Rugby Football Union statement read: "Following a fitness test before the Ireland training session today, both Geordan Murphy and Girvan Dempsey have been ruled out of the Six Nations game against Wales due to Achilles and hip injuries respectively." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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