Danny Cipriani returns to England after Melbourne Rebels flop
Danny Cipriani insists his decision to abandon the struggling Melbourne Rebels mid-season and return to England is key to reviving his stagnant Test career.
The controversial playmaker was due to end his tumultuous two-year stint Down Under in August having signed to play for the Sale Sharks in the Premiership.
However, with reports suggesting the former Red Rose No.10 was set to be dropped for this weekend’s Super Rugby clash against the Bulls, Cipriani has decided to cut his losses with eight games remaining and focus on rebuilding his career in his homeland.
“I’ve made no secret of my desire to play for England again and I believe leaving now will give me the best opportunity to do that,” the 24-year-old said. “I feel
I have developed my game in my time in Australia and become a more complete player.” The Rebels confirmed the decision was made by mutual consent, while Cipriani revealed on Twitter he was close to tears as he broke the news to team-mates.
“So I said goodbye to the boys: got 5/6 words out couldn’t hold my tears back. Thank u truly for making it special. Met some amazing people,” he tweeted.
Having made his Test debut at just 21, Cipriani was seen as the future of England before injury and off-the-field problems saw his career hit a brick wall after seven Tests.
The former Wasps fly-half headed to Melbourne in 2010 in an effort to get back on track, however, his Rebels career will be remembered more for the trouble he caused off the pitch rather than any dazzling play.
His first season was marred by several late night incidents; Cipriani was accused of taking a bottle of vodka from behind a bar following the Rebels’ first ever game, while he was suspended later in the year for a breach of team protocol.
He’s been much quieter this season, although so has his form as he struggled to combine with star Wallabies signings James O’Connor and Kurtley Beale, the Rebels languishing down in 13th in the table with just two victories from eight matches.
And even with O’Connor ruled out until June because of liver damage, the club didn’t seem to put up much of a fight to keep Cipriani there.
Chief executive Steve Boland said: “Essentially the time is right for both parties to part company.”