Cipriani the Shark jumps Rebels ship
Tue, 20 Mar 2012 00:00
Melbourne Rebels flyhalf Danny Cipriani has signed a three-year deal with Premiership side Sale Sharks in a bid to make the England team for the World Cup in 2015.
The 24-year-old Cipriani will leave the Super Rugby franchise at the end of the season and take up a three-year deal with the Sharks, which he hopes will revive his international career.
Cipriani burst into the England team in 2008 after an impressive season for London Wasps which saw him named as the PRA Young player of the year, and won seven Test caps before falling out of favour.
Sale chief executive Steve Diamond said the signing of players such as Cipriani and Scottish lock Richie Gray indicated the intent of the club to become a major force in the next few years.
"Quality signings such as Danny Cipriani and Richie Gray are a massive statement of intent from the Sharks, as we aim to become a Super Northern Club.
"Danny has been targeted by many European clubs, but has chosen to be based in Manchester, as he feels that the Sharks give him the best opportunity to fulfil his aspirations to be the number one flyhalf in England by the time of the 2015 Rugby World Cup," he explained.
Cipriani has been something of a mixed bag for the Rebels in his time with the young franchise, with some deft touches on attack being counter-balanced by a fragility on defence.
He has also had his fair share of off-field incidents in Melbourne, and was stood down at one point last season to get things back on track, which only strengthened his reputation as an irresponsible party animal.
He will also have everything to prove once he settles back into the Premiership as young Saracens flyhalf Owen Farrell was impressive for England in the Six Nations and would appear to be Cipriani's main long-term rival for the national No.10 jersey.
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