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Aivia Premiership
Diamond aims to get Cipriani firing
ESPN Staff
July 2, 2012
The Rebels' Danny Cipriani looks for support, Rebels v Waratahs, Super Rugby, AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia, March 2, 2012
Danny Ciprini will link up with Sale Sharks following two years in Super Rugby with the Melbourne Rebels © Getty Images
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Teams: England | Sale Sharks

Sale Sharks chief executive Steve Diamond is determined to give the club's new fly-half Danny Cipriani the chance to play at his very best level.

The seven-time capped playmaker returns to the Premiership after two years in Super Rugby with Melbourne Rebels. In the past his career has been dogged by ill-discipline and injury and meant that his international aspirations stalled after winning the man of the match award on his full England debut, against Ireland in the 2009 Six Nations.

"Danny's talent isn't in question, it is a case of getting him settled down and hopefully he can play well for us and his career will take off again," Diamond told The Rugby Paper. "There's no real risk for us and no real risk for him. He's coming to what is deemed an unfashionable club, but we'll keep our heads down and see how we do. A lot of what Danny needs is the right environment and when he arrives here in three weeks it will be down to him."

Cipriani is one of two major signings for the north-west club. Also arriving at the Salford City Stadium is Scotland second-row Richie Gray from Glasgow.

With a Heineken Cup place to look forward to as well as the appointment of new head coach Bryan Redpath, the hope is that the club can begin to match the style of play that helped them win the 2006 Premiership title.

"With Eiffion Roberts returning and Hendre Fourie fit again, it's like having four quality signings," Diamond said. "We'll be looking for Richie to carry on in the same vein as he started his career. He'll be coached well and hopefully he'll keep on improving. Bryan played in a very expansive team when he was here at Sale before and Gloucester's backs played a lot of expansive rugby as well. But we sometimes forget about the weather. You can't always play great rugby, sometimes you've got to be sensible."

Sale have bucked the trend in recent years of northern clubs struggling in rugby's top flight and they are now the only top-flight team north of Leicester. Their success last season contrasted with Newcastle Falcon's struggles and eventual relegation, whose demise came a year after Leeds Carnegie dropped down to the Championship. Sale are also looking forward to moving into the brand new Salford City Stadium, which they will share with rugby league side Salford Reds.

"What we've decided to do is get the infrastructure right," Diamond said. "We've now got a state of the art stadium and training facilities and we've got a good competitive team that is under the salary cap. You've got to put the community issues in place and the academy structure has got to be right. In all sports now everything is dying out at grassroots level unless you put investment and support into them."

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