Cipriani's big adventure Down Under ends prematurely
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Former England flyhalf Danny Cipriani has left the Melbourne Rebels midway through the Super Rugby season, cutting short his controversy-marred stint with the Australian club.
Cipriani, who was to leave the Rebels at the end of the season to join English club Sale Sharks, had been granted an early release, the team said.
Rebels CEO Steve Borland said in a statement: "Danny goes with our blessing and we thank him for his contribution to our club during his time here.
"Essentially the time is right for both parties to part company, the decision is amicable and we wish him all the best for the future."
Cipriani signed a three-year deal with Sale last month in a bid to revive his international career and though he pledged to see out his two-year deal with the Rebels last year, he was pleased to take the early exit.
"Rebels want 2 build for 2013 ... That's their main aim for rest of season. And I can prepare accordingly and to the best of my powers for the season with (Sale Sharks)," he said on his Twitter account.
"Going to be sad to leave all my team mates. Made some friends for life over here. The back room staff at the Rebels don't get enough praise."
The seven-test back joined the foundation Rebels side last year as a marquee player, citing hopes of a fresh start away from the media glare in England, but was soon under the spotlight in Australia for breaching team discipline on a number of occasions.
Cipriani landed in hot water last year for taking a bottle of vodka from the bar of a local nightspot without paying for it and was later stood down for a month for breaching team curfews and failing to turn up to training.
Although no further reports of off-field problems have surfaced, Cipriani had struggled for form this year in a new-look side boasting Wallabies recruits Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor.
Both are comfortable at flyhalf, and Rebels coaching staff had flagged playing Beale in the position for the remainder of the season, leaving the prospect of Cipriani struggling for a starting role.
Cipriani played 19 games and scored 122 points for the Rebels and will be remembered for nervelessly slotting a penalty goal to clinch the team's first win in the competition last year.
But his occasional flashes of brilliance were tempered by his defensive frailties, and the sight of opponents shrugging off his tackling attempts was regularly lamented by Rebels fans in blogs and online chatrooms.
The struggling Rebels have only two wins for the season and are all but out of the playoffs race in the southern hemisphere provincial competition.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by John O'Brien/Peter Rutherford)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this