Cipriani's future in doubt

    2011-05-31 10:35

    Melbourne - Danny Cipriani's future with Melbourne Rebels remains up in the air due to a dispute between the Super Rugby team and the British player's management, Rebels assistant coach Damien Hill said on Tuesday.

    The former England flyhalf was left in Melbourne for the Rebels' recent tour to South Africa for repeated off-field discipline breaches and was no certainty for selection for the team's home game against the Stormers on Friday.

    "The administration is in talks with Danny's management at the moment regarding his availability for this week," Hill told local reporters.

    "It's not ideal, but that's just the way it is at the moment. There are issues there that need to be resolved and that's being handled by the administration."

    Hill would not elaborate on the problem but said more would be revealed when the team was announced on Wednesday.

    Cipriani, who left England in part to escape publicity surrounding his celebrity lifestyle, has had little success shedding his image as a "party-boy" in his new start in Australia.

    A few weeks into the season, the 23-year-old was fined A$5 000 ($5 300) and made a public apology after getting booted out of a nightclub for swiping a bottle of vodka from the bar without paying.

    Earlier this month, Cipriani was stood down for the Rebels' home loss to the Reds after breaking a team curfew.

    He was then left out of the Rebels squad for South Africa after it emerged that he had missed a training session following another night out, prompting club chief executive Ross Oakley to declare the Briton had lost the confidence of management and his team-mates.

    Throughout, Cipriani has been forced to deny reports that he plans to cut and run from his two-year deal with the Rebels at the end of the season to take up a more lucrative offer in Europe, while being slammed by local media for being unable to match his attacking flair with solid defensive skills.

    Despite the headlines Cipriani has brought the Super Rugby newcomers, the Rebels have struggled without the flyhalf's spark, slipping to the bottom of the southern hemisphere competition's standings after losing their last six matches.

    Rebels vice-captain Gareth Delve said he hoped the wayward Briton could return to strengthen the side with three rounds remaining in the regular season.

    "The thing about Danny is he's a bloody awesome player and I think he's got a lot to offer us," the former Wales back-rower told local media.

    "He's just got to make sure he's doing all the right things to give him the opportunity to get out onto the pitch."

    ($1 = 0.935 Australian dollars)

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