Cipriani back in Rebels fold - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cipriani back in Rebels fold

Guy Hand And Ed Logue 07/06/2011 07:13:12 PM Comments (0)

Problematic Melbourne Rebels player Danny Cipriani has a future at the Super Rugby club, but he has to want to be part of it, according to coach Rod Macqueen.

Coaching staff and teammates welcomed Cipriani back into the fold on Tuesday after his club-imposed suspension was lifted.

Cipriani, whose depth of talent is matched by a length of misdemeanours which saw him banished from the club, returned to training after the Rebels and his management finally reached an agreement.

But Macqueen said far from wanting to wash his hands of the troubled star, Cipriani had a future with the Super Rugby side - if he wanted it.

"To me it's really simple - if he wants it (a future with the Rebels), it's there for him," Macqueen said.

"He's a good player, he's a skilful player and skilful players are always important in a team environment.

"It's up to Danny now. It's good to have him back available for selection and I'm really looking forward to moving forward."

The 23-year-old hasn't played since late April.

But Macqueen said he would "at least" be in the squad named for the clash with the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday night.

Brumbies utility back Pat McCabe said the Rebels five-eighth on Friday would be targeted - no matter who started the match.

"Whoever is at 10, I'd say they'll be getting a bit of traffic," McCabe told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

But he was wary of pinpointing Cipriani as a weak-link considering his impact in their previous encounter.

Cipriani kicked 20 points in the Rebels' shock 25-24 win against the Brumbies in late February.

"He's a quality player although he hasn't played for a few weeks," McCabe said.

"He's obviously got a very good kicking game and he's really smart in the way he controls the game and with his goalkicking as well.

With two matches remaining, a wooden spoon to avoid and several injuries, Cipriani's availability is ideal timing for the Rebels.

His disciplinary saga has also coincided with the Rebels dipping badly in form - a 40-3 loss to the Stormers last weekend the club's seventh straight defeat.

Rebels centre Mark Gerrard backed Cipriani's return and said off-field support for the troubled star was now the most important element to getting the Englishman on track.

"Obviously the last few weeks have been fairly distracting for Danny and a little bit for the playing group," Gerrard said.

"The calibre of player he is, we know what we can do with him (back in the team).

"It's the support off the field first and foremost that will go a long way to helping him and helping this football club."

Several former Brumbies including Stirling Mortlock, Julian Huxley and Gerrard were set to play again in Canberra for the first time since leaving the capital.

The match will also be Matt Giteau's final one in Canberra, the long-serving back linking with Toulon in France for the 2012 season.

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