Cipriani returns to UK for a second chance

Danny Cipriani, the would-be golden boy of English rugby, is returning home after 2 years in Australian exile playing for Melbourne Rebels.

The fly-half has signed a 3-year deal with Sale Sharks. He originally left Wasps for Melbourne, but has chosen the ambitious northern club to make his return to English rugby. Cipriani will hope to reclaim his place in the England squad.

"Quality signings such as Danny are a massive statement of intent from the Sharks as we aim to become a Super Northern club," the Sale coach Steve Diamond said. "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 No1 fly-half in England by the time of the 2015 World Cup."

Cipriani has been promising great things since he was a teenager, without ever really delivering. He was named young player of the year in 2008 when he made his England debut against Ireland, and was expected to become the next England talisman after Jonny Wilkinson.

Instead, ill-discipline dogged his career. Even before his England debut he had been excluded from the squad for breaches of team discipline. He has been out of the international picture during his time in Melbourne.

In Australia though there were signs that Cipriani is still struggling to grow up. The Rebels left him out for a month after Cipriani broke club rules. It remains to be seen whether Sale Sharks can straighten him out and make Cipriani an important part of England’s 2015 World Cup plans.

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