Imagine Rugby Blogs

Named and Shamed

Rugby's Top 5 Bad Boys

Posted May 04, 2011 by Chris White

Henson is more celeb than player

Sport and controversy seem to go hand-in-hand today, and rugby is no exception. Here we have a look at five of the most controversial rugby players of recent times, renowned for both their on and off field indiscretions.

At number 5, we have a young man who just doesn’t seem to learn from his mistakes. London Irish full-back Delon Armitage is a real talent and has a bright future ahead of him with England, with 19 caps already, but has just been banned for the second time in 2011. Armitage was given an 8-week ban for pushing an anti-doping official and using foul/offensive language in a post-match drugs test after the Premiership match between London Irish and Bath on 1 January. Just two matches into his comeback, however, Armitage has been cited for punching Northampton Saints’ Stephen Myler, and has such been given a 3-week ban.

In at 4 is part-time rugby star and full-time celeb Gavin Henson. The Welshman made his international debut back in 2001, but has since had numerous blemishes to his career. In 2005 he released an autobiography, in which he was critical of the British Lions tour and other players and was forced into an apology. He received a 10-week ban for striking Leicester’s Alex Moreno with an elbow. Henson came back to rugby after an 18-month break, signing for Saracens in October 2010. Having made just four appearances, Henson was released from his contract and moved to Toulon. In April, Henson was suspended from the club following an altercation with teammates.

At number three, Danny Cipriani was tipped as one of the best English fly halves around when he made his debut for Wasps in 2004. However, just a month after making his England debut as a substitute, Cipriani was photographed leaving a London nightclub just days before he was due to make his first start against Scotland. It was 2008 when Cipriani started to really make the headlines. Shortly after he dislocated his ankle, he began dating model Kelly Brook, and then had a fight with teammate Josh Lewsey. He was left out of tours after returning to fitness with questions raised over his commitment, prompting a move to Melbourne Rebels. In February he was asked to leave a nightclub at 4am following Melbourne’s 43-0 defeat to the NSW Waratahs. He then broken club protocol again, going out after another defeat to the Waratahs after the players agreed not to.

At two, is Frenchman Mathieu Basteraud. The French centre claimed he was attacked in Christchurch during the French tour of New Zealand in 2009. Basteraud claimed he was attacked in the early hours by a gang of youths, leaving him battered and bruised. However, he later withdrew these allegations after it became clear that he was just drunk and had injured himself in his hotel room.

Number one, however, will take some beating in the bad boys chart. Frenchman Marc Cecillon was Captain of France in the 1990s. Having retired from rugby, Cecillon remained involved in the game, but struggled to adjust to life away from playing. In August 2004, a drunken Cecillon was arguing with his wife at a party. Cecillon stormed off, only to return later and shoot his wife dead in front of 60 people. After his arrest, Cecillon failed to remember the incident, and is currently serving 14 years for murder.

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