Edinburgh Rugby captain Magnus Bradbury has been suspended by team management after injuring himself on a night-out and will not play again until an internal inquiry into the incident has been concluded.
The 22-year-old forward, who was only appointed captain at the start of this season by new head coach Richard Cockerill, missed Saturday’s Challenge Cup win at London Irish following his late-night injury while out in Edinburgh on a day off.
“Edinburgh Rugby is aware of an incident involving club captain Magnus Bradbury,” a statement from the team said yesterday. “The player is now subject to an internal disciplinary procedure and is unavailable for selection whilst this continues.
“Edinburgh Rugby takes any disciplinary issue seriously therefore the matter will be investigated and appropriate action will be taken. No further comment will be made at this time.”
No details have been given as to how long the investigation will take, or what range of sanctions could be involved. In theory, Bradbury could therefore be free to play against Krasny Yar in Moscow on Saturday, provided, that is, he recovers from the head knock he is understood to have received in the incident. At the other end of the disciplinary scale, he could be stripped of the captaincy, although that seems unlikely.
The forward – whose mother, Dee Bradbury, is vice-president of the Scottish Rugby Union – was on a day off and did not have training the following day. Any breach of discipline would therefore be based not on his being out in the centre of Edinburgh on the night in question, but on how well he looked after himself while there. It is understood he hit his head in a fall.
Cockerill’s wisdom in appointing Bradbury as captain was called into question earlier in the season after Edinburgh suffered a humiliating defeat by Italian club Benetton Treviso in the Pro14 – but on that occasion it was the player’s on-field leadership qualities that were the issue.
The coach is known as a keen disciplinarian who demands high standards of his squad, but he also has his own reputation for sound judgement to protect, so a balance is likely to be struck.
Suspending Bradbury immediately and keeping him excluded for a game or two more could show that Cockerill means business, while allowing the player to return as captain once penance is served would demonstrate that the coach backs his own original belief that the player is the right man to lead a young and relatively inexperienced squad.
The Edinburgh party that travels to the Russian capital this week will consist of 26 players in addition to coaching staff and management. Krasny Yar beat holders Stade Francais in the Challenge Cup on Saturday so will be no pushovers, but Cockerill has a lot of resources in the back row so will feel no pressure to rush Bradbury back.