Cipriani out to make amends
July 6, 2011
Danny Cipriani has endured a tough first season with the Melbourne Rebels © Getty Images
Melbourne Rebels fly-half Danny Cipriani has vowed to knuckle down and put his problems behind him after disappointing year both on and off the field.
Cipriani moved to Australia last year in a bid to resurrect his faltering international career but his behaviour away from the pitch landed him in hot water with the fledgling Super Rugby franchise. However, the 23-year-old is ready to put the past behind him and move on, admitting he has finally come to terms with his celebrity lifestyle.
"I've been misunderstood and judged unfairly by people who don't know me, but I've realised the only way to handle it is by being responsible and accepting it,'' Cipriani told the Sydney Morning Herald. "I have a right to privacy but I know my private life will always be in the news and I've come to terms with that.
"I let the Rebels down, at times, this year but next year will be different. I accept I've got to be more responsible off the field for the good of my team-mates."
Since switching from London Wasps, Cipriani has come in for criticism after a series of disciplinary breaches, which have included taking a bottle of vodka from a Melbourne nightclub and breaking a team curfew.
The Rebels later stood him down ahead of the team's tour of South Africa, claiming they 'had lost confidence in the player'. However, following reports the talented No.10 had quit the club, the Rebels lifted his suspension and he returned to the side for the season run-in.
The former England international had been linked with a move away from AAMI Park, with reports suggesting Premiership outfit Bath were preparing to swoop for the player, as well as French Top 14 club Toulon but Cipriani has since confirmed he will honour the second and final year of his current contract.
Cipriani split from long-term girlfriend Kelly Brook last year, a break which almost led to him quitting rugby altogether. Despite his off-field issues, he is keen to look to the future. "I've not had any problems with depression this year," he said having previously admitted to having had counselling.
"I suffered from it last year but I'm really good now. I've not had any treatment for alcohol issues either because I've never had a drink problem. I see myself as a leader of the team, on and off the field, and I don't want any more off-field headlines.''
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game