belfasttelegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Rebels growing tired of Cipriani

Danny Cipriani

Melbourne Rebels say they have "lost confidence" in Danny Cipriani following the England international's latest disciplinary breach.

Cipriani and Rebels team-mate Richard Kingi were stood down by senior Rebels players for last Friday's Super Rugby clash against the Queensland Reds in Melbourne. The punishment came after both players breached team protocol when the squad collectively agreed not to go out following the defeat to NSW Waratahs in Sydney six days previously.

But while Kingi has been reinstated in the Rebels squad for their next two games in South Africa, Cipriani will remain in Melbourne. Rebels chief executive Ross Oakley has now revealed that former Wasps fly-half Cipriani chose to stay out late again the night after the Sydney episode, then did not attend training.

Oakley said: "The playing group and management have lost confidence in Danny after the latest in a series of off-field breaches of the team's behavioural standards.

"To put the decision in context, Danny also chose to stay out late again the night after the incident in Sydney, and did not attend training the following day. Management is addressing these issues with Danny, and we support the decision to not allow him to join the tour to South Africa."

The latest developments leave Cipriani's immediate future in Melbourne under a huge cloud.

He only moved from Wasps last year, aiming to reignite his career with Super Rugby's newest franchise.

The 23-year-old had already lost his place in Martin Johnson's England set-up after winning seven caps, but his time in Australia has been scarred by off-field controversy.

After the first match of the Super Rugby season, the Rebels fined Cipriani and warned him about his future conduct when he was accused of taking a bottle of vodka from a Melbourne nightclub.

And with Rebels head coach Rod Macqueen renowned as a strict disciplinarian, it would be no surprise if Cipriani is shown the exit door by employers exasperated by his behaviour.

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