Saturday, March 24, 2012
Former England international Danny Cipriani had an impressive game for the Melbourne Rebels on Friday as he contributed to a 30-29 win over the Force with some great play and a fantastic try of his own. He also tweaked a hamstring, and did a little dance.
Cipriani, who hasn't had things go entirely his way since arriving in Australia, signed a three year deal with Sale Sharks earlier in the week as he signalled his intent to return to the England fold.
He'll be moving to Manchester once his season with the Rebels is up, and from there will aim to work his way back into Test rugby with England. Sale's Steve Diamond has said that the signing of a player of Cipriani's quality is a statement of intent from the club.
"Danny has been targeted by many European clubs, but has chosen to be based in Manchester as he feels that the Sharks give him the best opportunity to fulfil his aspirations to be the number one fly-half in England by the time of the 2015 World Cup," Diamond said earlier in the week.
"England had a great Six Nations, it's really excited him. He's spent two years playing Super 15 which not many European players get the opportunity to do and he's gone really well down there.
"I think he's matured in his time away. You've got to have a bit of ambition about you to pack up your bag and go to Australia on your own, he's done that, he's learnt a lot and it'll be for the better. Rugby union is crying out for a superstar and after Jonny Wilkinson, he could be the man."
Cipriani has been out of the picture for some time now and will need to compete with the likes of Charlie Hodgson, Toby Flood, Owen Farrell, and even young Leicester flyhalf George Ford.
Against the Force Cipriani had the kind of focus that will be needed, as he distributed well as well as started, and finished this wonderful try. He did something to his hamstring on the way to the tryline unfortunately, which meant he left the field shortly after, disrupting the Rebels.
As for the celebration, a frog in a blender comes to mind.