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Cipriani parts company with Rebels
ESPNscrum Staff
April 30, 2012
Danny Cipriani in action for the Melbourne Rebels, Melbourne Rebels v Blues, AAMI Park stadium, Melbourne, Australia, February 11, 2011
Rebels fly-half Danny Cipriani is set to link up with Premiership side Sale Sharks sooner than thought © Getty Images
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Danny Cipriani is to leave the Melbourne Rebels with immediate effect after both parties agreed to terminate his contract.

Cipriani was set to leave the team at the end of the current Super Rugby campaign in August after signing a three-year deal with English side Sale last month, but in a surprise move he has been released early from his contract and will return home ahead of the new Premiership season.

In a statement released by the Rebels, Cipriani stressed that his desire to add to his seven England caps was the overriding factor in his decision. "I want to thank the club for being so understanding with my wishes and granting me a release to return to England," said the 24-year-old. "I've made no secret of my desire to play for England again and I believe leaving now will give me the best opportunity to do that.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed my time in Melbourne at the Rebels. I've made some lifelong friends, played in front of an incredible set of fans in an amazing stadium, and improved my game playing in one of the best provincial rugby competitions in the world.

"I feel I have developed my game in my time in Australia and become a more complete player. I wish the Rebels every success in the future and should the opportunity ever arise again I would not hesitate to return."

Cipriani, the first England international to join an Australian Super Rugby team, had a troubled first year with Melbourne in 2011 and was sidelined for a month due to off-field disciplinary issues.

However, he appeared more settled this season, seemingly relishing his growing combination with Australia internationals James O'Connor and Kurtley Beale, although injury problems have prevented him earning a consistent run in the Rebels team.

He was retained for this season despite the arrival of star Wallabies backs James O'Connor and Kurtley Beale. But even with O'Connor ruled out until June due to liver damage, the club have opted to pay out the remainder of Cipriani's contract, with eight rounds of the regular season remaining.

Rebels chief executive Steve Boland offered his thanks to Cipriani who played 19 games for the Rebels, scoring a club record 122 points. "Danny goes with our blessing and we thank him for his contribution to our club during his time here," he said. "Essentially the time is right for both parties to part company, the decision is amicable and we wish him all the best for the future."

Head coach Damien Hill was also happy to help Cipriani in his quest for more international honours. "When we signed Danny we were always aware of his ambitions to return to the English national team and we have always been supportive of helping him achieve his goals," said Hill. "Danny believes that leaving now will give him the best chance to prepare for the long season ahead with Sale."

The news was also welcomed by Sale chief executive Steve Diamond, who said in a statement: "This is great news for Sale Sharks. Danny will be able to enjoy a rest period, along with his future playing colleagues at the club. He will also be able to take part in full close season preparations under our Head of Performance Nigel Ashley-Jones. Danny is really looking forward to joining our club, and is keen to be involved in meeting the fans during the close season."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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