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Danny Cipriani free to play for Rebels

By Melissa Woods 06/06/2011 05:34:28 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne Rebels vice-captain Gareth Delve says the availability of troubled star Danny Cipriani will lift the side as they battle to avoid the Super Rugby wooden spoon.

Cipriani's return can't come quickly enough for the Rebels, who remain last with two rounds in the competition to play, starting with a clash against the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday night.

The club-imposed suspension of the mercurial English five-eighth was lifted on Monday after the Rebels and his management finally reached an agreement.

The 23-year-old hasn't played since late April when he was suspended following a series of off-field breaches.

It's believed Melbourne were waiting for Cipriani to sign an updated contract with behavioural clauses.

Delve, who on the weekend was included in the Welsh preliminary World Cup squad, said Cipriani and the side wanted to finish their debut season on a high.

"I'm hoping he's going to come in with a point to prove," Delve said.

"The way he's been training I think it has been a lesson learned.

"He's very committed to the lads and I think he wants to finish the season on a high."

Delve said Cipriani, who has played seven Tests for England but received much more publicity for his off-field exploits, could ignite the backline.

"If he trains well enough and gets the opportunity against the Brumbies he's the type of guy who can pull out something special and maybe provide a spark," he said.

"But amongst all of us there's a huge commitment to improve on the performance that we put in against the Stormers."

The Brumbies are five points clear of Melbourne and are coming off their best win of a miserable season, beating the table-topping Reds in Brisbane.

The Rebels are last on the overall Super Rugby table on 23 points, equal with the Lions.

Melbourne delivered one of their worst showings of the year with a 40-3 hammering by the Stormers.

So frustrating and clueless was their attack at times against the South Africans that Queensland five-eighth Quade Cooper tweeted while watching the match: "Rebels missing Cipriani big time! There's no creativity..."

Delve was delighted with his World Cup squad inclusion after taking the chance of being out of sight and out of mind by playing in the southern hemisphere.

The hard-working No.8 hasn't played for Wales since March 2010 but has impressed with his consistency and leadership in an erratic Rebels season.

"It's a massive honour, it's great to get back into the mix," he said.

He hoped his experience playing against All Blacks and Springboks in the Super Rugby competition would give him an edge.

"I haven't had the experience of playing a lot against them at an international level but playing against the guys regularly this season, I think that will be a big advantage."

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