Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Rugby

Danny Cipriani Q&A

Published 16/02/2016

Latest rugby union news
Latest rugby union news

Danny Cipriani will return to Wasps this summer, leaving Sale Sharks to rejoin the club where he made his name.

Here, Press Association Sport examines what the 28-year-old fly-half's latest move will mean for both his domestic and international hopes.

:: Can Cipriani truly reignite his Test career?

From a training-ground bust-up with Josh Lewsey at Wasps to run-ins with England boss Martin Johnson, Cipriani was never far away from frustrating authority figures in his early years.

Dropped from the England team just two days before his Test debut in the 2008 Six Nations, Cipriani was admonished for visiting a nightclub.

He later insisted he was simply dropping off match tickets to friends, but had broken curfew and was duly disciplined.

Such was his talent that he still forced his Test breakthrough in that year's Six Nations under Brian Ashton, and hopes were high for a lengthy international stint.

Cipriani even recovered from a nasty broken ankle to return to Test action that winter, but then came six years of international wilderness.

After his stint in Australia, Sale, and the discipline instilled by no-nonsense boss Steve Diamond, helped Cipriani return to the England set-up.

Cipriani narrowly missed out on the autumn World Cup and has been told he remains on new coach Eddie Jones' radar.

But he must now push past not only regular fly-halves George Ford and Owen Farrell, but also the coming man Henry Slade, who is comfortable in the centres but should also feature at 10 for England in the future.

Exeter's Slade has missed the Six Nations with a broken leg, but is recovering quickly and should contest selection for England's summer tour to Australia.

Cipriani still has the talents for Test rugby, but nothing has changed in that he must still convince England's bosses he boasts top-level tactical mastery.

:: Will he maintain his reformed attitude and application?

Courting controversy and the celebrity lifestyle has always been wrapped up amid Cipriani's club and Test ambitions.

Sale convinced Cipriani he should focus his energies on chasing his return to the England set-up above all else, and that has kept him on the right path - since he was hit by a bus on a night out in Leeds in April 2013.

Cipriani certainly seems to have appreciated how fortunate he was to escape serious injury in that incident, and has proved huge worth to Sale ever since.

Jonny Wilkinson's mentor Steve Black has played a pivotal role in helping Cipriani get the best of his talents.

The conditioning and mental coach has helped Cipriani focus on now realising his potential after several wayward years following his switch to Melbourne in 2011.

Cipriani's chief aim above all else remains England action, and he knows full well from past experience just how damaging any misdemeanours can prove to that cause.

:: Can the talented fly-half help bring the glory days back to Wasps?

Cipriani will return to find a different Wasps from the club he left in 2011.

Wasps' move to Coventry's Ricoh Arena has already yielded untold benefits, the fruit of owning your own home increasingly clear.

Wasps went through the tribulations of fearing for their existence in Cipriani's absence, with players at times worrying over whether they would be paid.

Boss Dai Young dug into his own pocket to buy medical equipment at times, and kept the show on the road until owner Derek Richardson found a solution in purchasing the Ricoh.

Cipriani started at full-back as Wasps saw off Leicester Tigers 25-9 to claim the 2007 Heineken Cup title, and featured prominently in the 2008 Aviva Premiership-winning campaign.

The club's fortunes tailed off from there before Cipriani's departure - but now he will return to an outfit well and truly on the up.

Cipriani's return is as much a sign of Wasps' renewed financial clout as their improvements under well-regarded boss Dai Young.

If both Cipriani and Wasps now realise full potential, silverware could well follow.

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph