Cipriani vows to return
Published 20/02/2010 | 05:00
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 out-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 plummeted down the pecking order since Martin Johnson took over as manager, even though he is among the brightest talents in English club rugby.
"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," Cipriani said. "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."
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 £5m, 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.