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Rebels hope Cipriani fulfils potential

20/02/2010 03:13:58 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne Rebels coach Rod Macqueen says he's hoping to fulfil new recruit Danny Cipriani's immense potential, after the former England five-eighth became the Super franchise's first signing.

The 22-year-old, who has played seven Tests, is looking for Super rugby to kick-start his rugby career, after falling out of favour with the England hierarchy.

He announced his two-year deal at a press conference in London, and will begin training in Melbourne in August.

"I have watched Danny play and have also spoken with English rugby's key insiders and there is no doubt that he is held in high regard as a player of unlimited potential," the World Cup-winning former Australian coach said.

"I am looking forward to working with Danny to fulfil that potential."

Interestingly, Macqueen stated he intended to play Cipriani at fullback, which leaves the door open for other recruitment targets such as the Wallabies vice-captain Berrick Barnes, who is currently with NSW.

The Rebels hope his signing lures other prominent players, with Springbok stars Bryan Habana, Jaque Fourie and Schalk Burger reportedly showing interest in the development.

Cipriani said the chance to play in a competition he'd always admired was an opportunity he could not turn down.

"When I was young, I used to wake up and watch Christian Cullen (the former New Zealand full-back) in the Super 12s - now I have a chance to play in that competition," Cipriani said at a news conference.

"It will be a new environment for me. I'll be playing in a competition I'd never thought I'd get the chance to play in.

"The southern hemisphere do things different rugby-wise and hopefully I'll develop some new skills and tricks.

"That way I'll come back a more experienced and developed player."

Since exploding onto the international scene in the 2008 Six Nations, Cipriani has endured a frustrating and often turbulent couple of years.

After being rushed back from a serious ankle injury sustained in May 2008, he was disappointing for England during the November Tests that year and has not appeared for his national team since.

He felt the move to Australia was a chance to wipe the slate clean and he felt a sense of relief.

"Out there, it will be a different expectation as I'm not Australian so they won't want me to be playing for Australia," he said.

"I think it's a chance for me to knuckle down and come back a better player so I can fulfil the potential that people want from me, and that I want as well," he said.

"Now I've been able to release this information, it feels like a pressure and weight off my shoulders.

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