Danny Cipriani Never Quite Fulfilled His Huge Potential For Club Or Country

Danny Cipriani Never Quite Fulfilled His Huge Potential For Club Or Country
15:58, 12 Feb 2018

There will be a debate to be had in the years to come about how good Danny Cipriani actually was.

The enigmatic fly-half is weighing up his next move after announcing he is to leave Wasps when his contract expires at the end of the current campaign.

The 30-year-old is coming to the end of his second season with Wasps, having previously been with them from 2006 to 2010 before spells with the Melbourne Rebels and Sale Sharks.

Cipriani could now decide to move to play in Japan or France and, if he joins a foreign club, he is effectively bringing to an end any hopes of reviving his England career.

Cipriani said: “I will be sad to leave Wasps, but my job is far from finished and I can promise the fans my absolute all until the end of the season as we tackle the mission ahead of us.

“I will now take some time to decide my next move.”

Cipriani has enjoyed a fine career, but the feeling persists that his undeniable talent, certainly at international level, remains unfulfilled.

A return of 14 England caps since making his international debut nearly a decade ago is a poor return for one of the finest players of his generation.

Of course, nothing is ever that simple when it comes to Cipriani.

The Londoner, a talented all-round sportsman who played football and cricket to a high level as a schoolboy, was touted for greatness from an early age after captaining England Under-16s and representing the Red Rose in the Under-19 World Cup.

His senior debut in a Six Nations game against Ireland at Twickenham in March 2008 and he impressed in England’s 33-10 victory.

Much was also made of his high-profile relationship with model Kelly Brook and concerns were raised by critics about whether he was fully committed to rugby.

He fell out of favour with the England management - further injury did not help his cause - and in the summer of 2010 he moved to Melbourne, ruling himself out of international contention.

In Australia he again struggled to stay out of the limelight and it was a not altogether successful time, but in the summer of 2012 he returned to England, signing a three-year deal with Sale and making clear his desire to once again vie for an England place.

Cipriani impressed during his time in Manchester, but was left out of the 2015 World Cup squad by Stuart Lancaster and has been forced to play second fiddle primarily to Owen Farrell and George Ford.

Cipriani has not figured under current coach Eddie Jones, despite having been a key part of Wasps’ re-emergence as title challengers – they were beaten by Exeter in last season’s Premiership final.

But, with the likes of All Black Lima Sopoaga on the way, Wasps director of rugby Dai Young is keen to reshape his squad and balance the books, although Cipriani should not be short of offers.

Young said: “Danny is moving on at the end of the year and we wish him well.

“We would also like to thank him for all his efforts in a Wasps shirt.

“As he says, now this decision has been made public we can all concentrate on the really important three-and-a-half months of rugby which lies ahead.

“This begins for Danny, the rest of the squad and staff at the Ricoh on Sunday, where our focus is fully on the challenge presented by Exeter.”

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