Cipriani not ruling out England return

Danny Cipriani claims he would "never rule out" returning to play in England after agreeing a lucrative deal with newly-formed Australian team Melbourne Rebels.

The England international fly-half will quit Wasps at the end of this season to play Super 15 rugby Down Under.



If effectively ends the 22-year-old's chances of featuring in the 2011 England World Cup squad.



But seven times-capped Cipriani has rocketed down the pecking order since Martin Johnson took over as England manager, even though he remains among the domestic game's brightest talents.



Cipriani said: "I have been given no indication that I am pushing for a place with England at the moment, so it is up to me to ensure I am in contention in the future by challenging myself in new realms.



"I have some of the best coaches and players in the game around me at Wasps, which is why it has been so hard to make my decision, but I am still young enough to go away and experience something completely different.



"I want to be the best player I can be, and this is a huge challenge and opportunity to test myself, on and off the pitch, because it will be changing everything I know.



"Leaving Wasps is very hard. This is my home, I have played here since I was 15.



"I see this move as the next step in my career and would never rule out coming back to play in England.



"If I did, the first place I would look at is Wasps, and we have already talked about that as a possibility for the future.



"I believe in the coaches and the players here and it will be very difficult to leave, but the decision has been made easier by having the support of (rugby director) Tony Hanks and (head coach) Shaun Edwards."



News of Cipriani's Wasps exit comes hot on the heels of Wasps' England wing Paul Sackey agreeing a two-year contract to play alongside Jonny Wilkinson at Toulon next term.



"From a club perspective it is obviously disappointing for the fans that they won't get to see Danny playing at Adams Park," admitted Wasps boss Hanks.



"But I am sure that they will follow his progress in Australia with a lot of interest.



"The news of Wasps' departures has obviously dominated, with Sackey and now Cipriani, but we owe it to guys like these who have served the club well before we move to the announcements about new players joining the squad.



"We have some very positive recruitment underway behind the scenes, and there is a very positive feeling at the club.



"Obviously, we are disappointed that Danny is leaving, especially as he has worked hard on a return to form on the back of a couple of nasty injuries.



"However, knowing his reasons are based on rugby and personal development, we as a club support his decision.



"Working with him for the last few weeks around this decision, we have looked at it more as a Wasp going on a sabbatical and, while nothing is guaranteed, Danny has expressed a desire to return to the club later down the line."



It is understood that Cipriani will need to be in Australia by October this year, ready for a full pre-season ahead of the 2011 Super 15 campaign.



The Rebels are thought to have a playing budget of more than £5 million, with other English players also believed to be on their shopping list.



Cipriani had been a target for French clubs Stade Francais - whose squad includes his ex-Wasps colleagues James Haskell and Tom Palmer - and Perpignan.



Rebels head coach, former Australia national team chief Rod Macqueen, welcomed Cipriani's pending arrival.



"Danny was insistent that he wanted to come here and it wasn't about money," Macqueen told Sky Sports News.



"It was about changing his direction in what he is doing with his sport. That is what attracted me most.



"He was interested in what we are doing and getting an understanding of what we are trying to do in putting the side together.



"We are a new franchise, and that requires a special approach to things. We need a team-first attitude, and what impressed me was Danny's humility,



"It was not about money, it was about his future and the type of players he would be playing alongside. He seemed to be seeking something that wasn't about the highest dollar."

The Rebels confirmed that Cipriani had agreed a two-year deal and that he would be expected to begin pre-season work with them in August.



They also revealed it was the intention of Macqueen and his coaching staff to play him at full-back, the position he started for England Saxons against Italy A earlier this month.



Rebels chief executive Brian Waldron predicted Cipriani would be a "fantastic contributor" to the team.



"We are not in a position to pay Danny the sort of money he could attract in Europe, and his decision demonstrates the strength of his commitment to be a part of the Melbourne Rebels," said Waldron.



"Danny is coming out of contract with the London Wasps at the end of the current season, so the timing was right.



"We also appreciate the highly professional manner in which Wasps have treated our contract negotiations.



"With his youth and ability, we believe Danny will be a fantastic contributor to the team.



"We are building a squad of committed players that will have the optimum blend of experience and young talent."





PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape