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Cipriani to head home early after Rebels exit


Linda Pearce

Man on the move ... Danny Cipriani.

Man on the move ... Danny Cipriani. Photo: Getty Images

SINCE March, Danny Cipriani has been going; as of yesterday, the Melbourne Rebels' English import is gone. The Rebels have released Cipriani, effective immediately, severing a controversial 18-month relationship eight rounds before it was due to expire.

The five-eighth was in the last of his two Super Rugby seasons with the Rebels, having agreed to a three-year deal with the Sale Sharks in northern England, while long coveting a return to the national side.

Cipriani played the last of his seven Tests in 2008.

Rebels chief executive Steve Boland said Cipriani left with the club's blessing after scoring 122 points in 19 games, including the goal that won the new team's first game last year.

''Essentially the time is right for both parties to part company,'' Boland said of a decision he described as ''amicable'', and one he said was set in motion by Cipriani's commitment to the Sharks.

''As soon as Danny decided to return to England at the completion of this year and sign with Sale … we had some discussions with his Australian representative that [if] at any time over that period … he'd be better served by going back and preparing for the next England season that we were open to that discussion, because it's sort of a funny situation where the seasons cross over to some degree.

''So we had that discussion a few weeks ago and we received that approach last week and completed those negotiations this afternoon.''

Cipriani will return to England this week and will do a full pre-season with the Sharks.

"Danny believes that leaving now will give him the best chance to prepare for the long season ahead with Sale," Rebels coach Damien Hill said.

In Melbourne, the 24-year-old has rarely been far from the headlines, and was suspended for a month for off-field indiscretions last year. More recently, he has been considered an unhealthy influence on the likes of star recruits James O'Connor and Kurtley Beale, while his inconsistent form meant he was expected to be dropped for Friday night's game against the Bulls at AAMI Park.

"I want to thank the club for being so understanding with my wishes and granting me a release to return to England," Cipriani said. "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.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed my time in Melbourne at the Rebels. I've made some lifelong friends, played in front of an incredible set of fans in an amazing stadium and improved my game playing in one of the best provincial rugby competitions in the world.

"I feel I have developed my game in my time in Australia and become a more complete player.

''I wish the Rebels every success in the future, and should the opportunity ever arise again I would not hesitate to return."

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
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