Danny Cipriani has left the Melbourne Rebels with immediate effect.
According to the official statement the parting was by mutual agreement and had nothing to do with the speculation that he was being dropped to the bench.
Cipriani signed with the Sale Sharks several weeks ago and will apparently head back in time for a full pre-season with his new club in preparations for next season’s Aviva Premiership.
The 24-year-old has been all over the place while in Melbourne and was sidelined for a month in 2011 due to off-field disciplinary issues. And let’s be honest he has been in the spotlight regularly for his off field actions than his form on the field.
Cipriani is saying that it was his desire to return to England and prepare for the next English rugby season that was the overriding factor in his decision.
“I want to thank the club for being so understanding with my wishes and granting me a release to return to England,” said Cipriani.
“I’ve made no secret of my desire to play for England again and I believe leaving now will give me the best opportunity to do that.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time in Melbourne at the Rebels. I’ve made some lifelong friends, played in front of an incredible set of fans in an amazing stadium, and improved my game playing in one of the best provincial rugby competitions in the world.
“I feel I have developed my game in my time in Australia and become a more complete player. I wish the Rebels every success in the future and should the opportunity ever arise again I would not hesitate to return.”
It will be interesting to see what the club does now, particularly since they lost O’Connor for 6 weeks after he suffered liver damage in the Waratahs match.