1 May 2012

Cipriani heads back to England

6:06 am on 1 May 2012

The former England first-five Danny Cipriani has left the Melbourne Rebels midway through the Super Rugby season, cutting short his controversy-marred stint with the Australian club.

Cipriani, who was to leave the Rebels at the end of the season to join English club Sale Sharks, had been granted an early release.

Rebels CEO Steve Borland says essentially the time is right for both parties to part company, the decision is amicable and they wish him all the best for the future.

Cipriani signed a three-year deal with Sale last month in a bid to revive his international career and though he pledged to see out his two-year deal with the Rebels last year, he was pleased to take the early exit.

The seven-test back joined the foundation Rebels side last year as a marquee player, citing hopes of a fresh start away from the media glare in England, but was soon under the spotlight in Australia for breaching team discipline on a number of occasions.

Cipriani landed in hot water last year for taking a bottle of vodka from the bar of a local nightspot without paying for it and was later stood down for a month for breaching team curfews and failing to turn up to training.