Danny Cipriani: England fly-half extends Sale Sharks stay

By Nathan MiddletonBBC Sport
Danny Cipriani
Danny Cipriani has scored 144 points for Sale so far this season

England fly-half Danny Cipriani has signed a new two-year deal with Premiership side Sale Sharks.

The 27-year-old was out of contract in the summer and had been linked with a move to French Top 14 side Toulon.external-link

However, the former Wasps and Melbourne Rebels number 10, has extended his stay in the north west after scoring a try against Italy in the Six Nations.

"One of the main reasons I signed was that we've got a tight squad and it embraces new talent," said Cipriani.

"We've got some great young talent at the club with players like Mike Haley, Will Addison, Tommy Taylor, Ross Harrison and Josh Beaumont all having really come to the fore over the past year or so.

Cipriani makes an instant impact

"It's also an environment that makes you feel very welcome so I'm really thrilled about signing the new deal and looking forward to the future."

Cipriani had always maintained that he was happy to stay at Sale, as long as the club matched his ambition.

He joined the Sharks on a three-year deal in 2012 - after a couple of years in Australia at the Rebels - but in his first season the club narrowly avoided relegation and he ended the campaign by being hit by a bus on a team night out in Leeds.

Cipriani's form improved dramatically last term as he helped the Sharks to a top-half finish, and he was rewarded with an England recall on the tour to world champions New Zealand last June.

He has continued his impressive performances this year, and World Cup winning coach Sir Clive Woodward called for his inclusionexternal-link in the national set-up, but he was overlooked in favour of George Ford, Owen Farrell and Stephen Myler for the autumn internationals.

But following an injury to Saracens' Farrell, Cipriani has been part of the England squad for the opening two games of this year's Six Nations, and made his first appearance in the competition since 2008 when he came off the bench against Italy.

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond has praised Cipriani's work ethic and attitude.

"Danny is a team player and he shows it every week for our team," he told BBC Radio 5 live. "I don't think he did himself any favours by being in the press in the past but that has stopped.

"He has come into a good work ethic here and joined in and settled down. He has matured as a lad and with that has come maturity in his performances.

"We set parameters from day one and he works within them easily. He is the least of my worries when I am looking at people's discipline.

"He is very low maintenance and a model professional. He looks after his diet, works hard with the conditioners and with England and is doing what it takes to be a top-class pro."