An Australian legend believes Danny Cipriani’s time Down Under has seen him become a better player.
Michael Lynagh says Sale Sharks should see an improved Cipriani thanks to his spell with Melbourne Rebels.
Lynagh, who helped steer the Wallabies to World Cup glory in 1991 having played all three Tests against the Lions two years earlier, feels the style of Super Rugby and the experience of living overseas will have had a positive effect on the 24-year-old.
Cipriani has made headlines for both the right and wrong reasons since making the move to Melbourne from London Wasps, with issues with indiscipline away from the field overshadowing his performances on it in the early stages of his Australian career.
But the player once considered England’s brightest prospect has shown glimpses of his true potential on the biggest club stage of all and Lynagh is quietly confident that his fellow playmaker’s career will now follow an upward curve.
“I think the rugby experience, and experience of a different culture and way of playing the game will be very educational and very good for him and I expect to see him come back a better player for it,” said Lynagh.
“It's been very much an up-and-down time for him. We've seen him do brilliant things on the rugby field and some not-so-brilliant things on the rugby field and off the rugby field.
“Him now coming back to England to try and play well for Sale and also get back in the England reckoning will be quite important for him.”
As for his new club, Sale are currently looking to ensure Cipriani is up to scratch fitness-wise having played his last game for the Rebels back in April.
Pre-season training always involves a big focus on conditioning and Sale’s director of rugby Bryan Redpath is looking for Cipriani to prove himself in his team’s forthcoming friendlies.
“Danny just needs to get back playing,” said Redpath, who will also have potential Lions second row Richie Gray at his disposal this season.
“The big thing for our new guys is that they have to get their fitness up to scratch. Everyone coming in will be subject to a conditioning course. There will be no exceptions and I’m a great believer that if you are fit you can cope with most things that are thrown at you.
“Anyone coming will have to fight to ensure their head is right and they are fit. When you are fit the game is easier and you are mentally stronger. When you are not as fit you tend to pick up injuries as you are not sharp and you get caught off balance.”