English rock-star flyhalf/fullback, and Josh Lewsey punching bag, Danny Cipriani, today confirmed he has agreed to terms with the Melbourne Rebels. Cipriani becomes the Rebels’ inaugural signing and with a two year contract, has effectively turned his back on English rugby.
There had been much speculation about his signing but Rebels coach Rod Macqueen appeared to pour cold water on the move suggesting perhaps he didn’t fit into his vision of what the Rebels team culture would be.
Maybe this was just a rouse as today Rod Macqueen seemed to have changed his tune.
“Danny and I have spoken on numerous occasions regarding the Rebels’ commitment to a culture that makes a positive contribution to both the Melbourne community and the game of rugby.
“It is refreshing in this age to find a young man whose decision is based on sporting considerations and life choices rather than the dollar.”
It is a vote of confidence in the Rebels set-up that Cipriani has chosen to join them and leave behind the riches of European rugby. It is understood the offer the Rebels put before Cipriani was well below the money he could have commanded had he stayed in England.
Cipriani, who played 7 tests for the Poms, comes to Melbourne as a player who despite the hype, hasn’t really done the business consistently and there must be question marks over his ability to make a real impact in what is the strongest rugby competition in the world.
Cipriani will join the Rebels in August this year after his commitments at Wasps are finished and it has been confirmed by Macqueen that he will play at his preferred position of full-back rather than the fly half
The wayward young Pom has been on the wrong side of authorities more than a few times since being punted two days before what would have been his first test appearance after going out on the piss before the game.
It seems rather fitting that the Rebels first signing is that of a real-life rebel.