Cipriani takes leadership role

Danny Cipriani will take on an unexpected leadership role when he makes his debut for the Melbourne Rebels this weekend. [more]

Cipriani takes leadership role

Danny Cipriani will take on an unexpected leadership role when he makes his debut for the Melbourne Rebels this weekend.

Cipriani has been handed the vice captaincy for the new franchise’s match opening pre-season clash with Tonga at the city’s Olympic Park.

The 23-year-old made a high-profile move to Australia from London Wasps during the summer and has so far been kept under wraps with his new side.

That is all set to change on Saturday when one of English rugby’s most-talked about players begins his southern hemisphere challenge in earnest.

Rebels head coach Rod Macqueen has played down the decision, however, telling media they should not read too much into Cipriani’s role.

Google Ad Manager – In Article

"He's obviously got a high profile and that's difficult when you've come from overseas and you're in a team environment and so we've tried to protect him from that profile with the press," said Macqueen.

"We won't announce our captain or vice-captains [for the Super Rugby season] for the next couple of weeks.

"In trials we just use the No.8s and fly-halves as captains and vice-captains. Because we do that it means that he will end up being one of the vice-captains."

Macqueen, who led Australia to a series victory over the Lions a decade ago, has faced numerous question surrounding his star signing’s off-the-field image after Cipriani spent as much time on the front pages as he did on the back during his career with Wasps.

Cipriani’s relationship with ex-girlfriend Kelly Brook created a huge media interest outside of rugby circles but Macqueen has made it clear that he hopes the Englishman will give rugby his full attention Down Under.

"He's quite respected amongst the players but we're making an effort to keep him away from the profile he's had overseas because that's one of the things that brought him undone,” added Macqueen.

"One of our pledges is 'We are not me', let's put the team first and that's hard when you've got someone with a profile like Danny.

"He has obviously got a high profile and that's difficult when you come from overseas and you're in a team environment.

"It's not ideally what we want. The reality is that he is here to play rugby. That's what he wants to do and the more distractions he gets the more it takes away from his game.

"The reality is that he lives a lifestyle around rugby and the majority of his life is rugby, but he does take a girl out from time to time and we don't see that as a problem.”

Previous story Rees won’t appeal ban
Next story Henson faces scan
Download