Super Rugby
Cipriani edges closer to Rebels switch
Scrum.com
February 5, 2010
Wasps fly-half Danny Cipriani in action during a training session, Action, London, England, September 1, 2009
The Melbourne Rebels have cooled speculation that Danny Cipriani could be a high-profile signing © Getty Images
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England fly-half Danny Cipriani will swap Wasps for the newly-unveiled Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby franchise according to The Times.

Cipriani was among a number of northern hemisphere players to meet with Rebels assistant coach Damien Hill last week as the franchise look to build a playing roster that is permitted to contain up to 10 overseas players. His contract with Wasps expires in the summer and he is known to have attracted the attention of a number of French clubs, including Stade Francais.

Negotiations have reportedly been ongoing between Cipriani's lawyers and the Rebels while the player prepares for a stint at fullback as the England Saxons take on Italy 'A' in Treviso on Sunday. Cipriani has not played a Test for England since November 2008 and is apparently out of Martin Johnson's immediate plans heading towards the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

"Danny had to make sure that he was making the decision for the right reasons, that he was not running as far away as he could, but that the move would be good for him and his game in the long term," a source close to Cipriani told The Times. "You have to think that even if he stays there two years, he will still only be 24 and with his best years ahead of him, including maybe two World Cups. When you add everything up it makes sense. It could be the making of him."

Rebels coach Rod Macqueen had yesterday cooled speculation that Cipriani will be offered a contract, insisting that their focus was on Australian qualified players.

"It's more speculation than fact, and there's no doubt we've spoken to a number of players over in England and we're really going through a sorting-out process to see where our priorities lie," Macqueen told Sportal. "But it's still very early days and it'd be premature to suggest that we would be offering him a contract. I think that the speculation's been kicked up a lot more than it deserves at this stage.

"From our point of view we've made it very clear that our priority is Australian players and we're just trying to sort out that situation at the moment to see who's available in Australia. So that will be our priority but we really did need to know who's available in Europe and England and that's why Damien Hill's just been over there."

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