Rebels' Cipriani to start at five-eighth - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rebels' Cipriani to start at five-eighth

By Melissa Woods 08/06/2011 05:51:21 PM Comments (0)

Danny Cipriani's return to Super Rugby has been rubber-stamped with his selection in the Melbourne Rebels' line-up for their clash with the Brumbies on Friday night.

The troubled five-eighth hasn't played since the end of April when he was suspended for an off-field breach and then due to a contractual stand-off with Melbourne.

Cipriani will add some much-needed spark at No.10 when he takes over from Julian Huxley for the match in Canberra, where both teams are looking for a win to avoid the Super Rugby wooden spoon.

Huxley has shifted to the centres, Mark Gerrard to fullback and last week's custodian, Richard Kingi to the wing, with Lachlan Mitchell relegated to the bench.

Gerrard said it was good to have the distracting Cipriani situation resolved and have the mercurial Englishman back in the line-up.

"It will be good for us to have him against the Brumbies in Canberra," said Gerrard, a former Brumby.

"It's good for his confidence, and for us."

He believed the 23-year-old had a future with Melbourne.

"The calibre of player he is, and I know what we can do with him ... to have Danny back it's great for the club so hopefully he can stick around for a few years."

In other team news hard-working lock Hugh Pyle is out with a hamstring injury for the remaining two games with Kevin O'Neill his replacement.

Rodney Blake returns to the side at loose-head prop and Greg Somerville comes in at tight-head with Laurie Weeks a reserve.

While Melbourne missed out on the signature of Wallabies wunderkind James O'Connor, they will also next season be without former league star Luke Rooney, who is heading back to play in France.

Rooney, who can play fullback or wing, hasn't featured since their round 14 match against the Cheetahs after being sidelined with a calf injury.

The 28-year-old, who has failed to make his mark in his 10 games with the Rebels, is returning to the big-spending Toulon, where he played from 2008-10.

Rooney is a former Penrith Panther and played six internationals for the Australian league team.

Rebels: Mark Gerrard, Richard Kingi, Stirling Mortlock (capt), Julian Huxley, Cooper Vuna, Danny Cipriani, Nick Phipps, Gareth Delve, Michael Lipman, Jarrod Saffy, Kevin O'Neill, Alister Campbell, Greg Somerville, Ged Robinson, Rodney Blake. Res: Adam Freier, Laurie Weeks, Adam Byrnes, Tim Davidson, Lachlan Mitchell, Peter Betham, Afusipa Taumoepeau.

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