Former Rebel in hot water

by AFP

Former Melbourne Rebels star Danny Cipriani's breath smelt of alcohol and he had "glazed" eyes after crashing his car into a taxi, a court was told on Monday.

The England international, now with Premiership side Sale, has denied a charge of drink-driving relating to an incident that took place at 5.15 am (0415 GMT) on Imperial Road in Fulham, west London, on June 1 last year. 

London's Westminster Magistrates Court was told Monday that Cipriani's Mercedes car was travelling "very fast" and "swerving and swinging" between the left and right hand sides of the road, and hit a Toyota Prius which had slowed down to try to avoid it.

Taxi driver Muhammad Qasim, said he suffered injuries to his neck, shoulder and lower back in the crash with Cipriani, who will rejoin Wasps (the club where he launched his career) from English Premiership rivals Sale at the end of the season.

Embattled Cirpriani will leave Sale for Wasps next season. Photo: Getty ImagesProsecutor Katie Weiss told the court that police were called following reports of a collision and that police constable Shane Elsworth questioned Cipriani, who allegedly admitted he had been out drinking. "Questions were put to the defendant, he said he was the driver of the vehicle

Pc Elsworth said he could smell alcohol on his breath and said his eyes were also glazed over," Weiss told the court. "He was asked if he had been drinking and he said 'Yes'. He was asked, 'When was your last drink?'. He said, 'An hour ago'."

Cipriani, from Raynes Park in south-west London, was breathalysed and found to have 67 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath, it is alleged.

The legal limit in England and Wales is 35 micrograms. The 28-year-old joined the Melbourne Rebels in 2010 before returning to England with Manchester-based Sale in 2012. 

Cipriani's career has seen him generate headlines for his life away from the rugby pitch following high-profile relationships with Kelly Brook, the actress and model, and, more recently, television sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher. 

On Monday, Cipriani spoke only to confirm his name, age and address at the start of the hearing. Cipriani is widely regarded as one of the most talented English backs of his generation, yet he failed to be selected for England's squad at last year's World Cup, amid a training ground row with then attacking skills coach Mike Catt. 

He also played no part in England's Six Nations Grand Slam success this season under new Australian head coach Eddie Jones.