Cipriani trains with MK Dons
September 15, 2010
Danny Cipriani has been linked with a move to football © Getty Images
Danny Cipriani has continued his recent dalliance with football by training with the Milton Keynes-based MK Dons.
The League One club's boss Karl Robinson has revealed that England international Cipriani, who is set to join the Melbourne Rebels in Australia next month, has been working with his squad this week following similar spells with Queens Park Rangers, Tottenham and Major League Soccer side the Colorado Rapids in the United States.
But the 22-year-old, who rejected a professional contract with Reading when he was younger to concentrate on rugby, has consistently dismissed reports of a permanent switch - insisting his aim was to vary his fitness plan before embarking on the latest stage of his headline-grabbing career.
"I met Danny some time ago through a mutual friend and he`s been working on his fitness with us this week," said Robinson. "It has been a great opportunity for our players to compare training methods with a world class athlete and for Danny to vary his own training programme.
"It has been well documented that Danny was a talented footballer when he was younger and he has certainly held his own. His enthusiasm has been terrific."
Earlier this month, Cipriani's publicist Caroline McAteer dismissed rumours that he was about to turn his back on a reported £175,000 (A$300,000) a season contract with the Rebels.
"He's in regular contact with the Melbourne Rebels coaches and he's going out there by early October ready for pre-season training," she said. "Danny wants to be super, super fit going out to Melbourne. The pressure will be on him out there now because there has been so much fuss made about this move. He has to arrive ready to go - that is why he is training so hard.
"He spent two weeks with Spurs, two weeks with QPR and an English guy he knows who coaches the team in Colorado invited him to join them for training, so he thought he would go. He'll be out there for a week or so, then he's coming back here for a few weeks before going to Australia."
McAteer also admitted that speculation over his future was contributing to Cipriani's desire to distance himself from the British press. "Let's face it, not many in this part of the world have heard of Colorado Rapids. If he was going to sign for an MLS team, I don't think it would be them. But it is not going to happen. He would have to cancel his contract with the Rebels and that's not even an option.
"He has signed the contract, he is going to Melbourne and he is excited about the move. All these rumours are part of the reason why he wants to go to Australia. He wants to get away from all this."
Cipriani won the last of his seven England cap back in 2008 and has since fallen out of favour with England manager Martin Johnson who has said he would not select Cipriani if he was unavailable to play in next year's Six Nations.
The Rebels will begin their quest for Super Rugby glory against the Waratahs on February 18 at AAMI Park. Cipriani is one of a number of high-profile signings made by the team including Wallabies international Stirling Mortlock, former All Blacks prop Greg Somerville and England international Michael Lipman.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September