Cipriani extends contract with Sale

Date published: February 19 2015

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England star Danny Cipriani has handed Sale arguably their most important result of the season by signing a new two-year deal with the Sharks.

In signing his new deal, Cipriani has become the 10th player to agree to a new deal at Sale but confirmation of his renewal is unquestionably the most significant.

Cipriani, who first burst onto the national stage as a teenager with Wasps, has made a huge impact at Sale since joining from Melbourne Rebels in 2012 and his superb form over the past 18 months has seen him earn a deserved recall to the England set-up.

After impressing on the tour to world champions New Zealand last summer where he made two Test appearances, the fly-half then marked his first Six Nations appearance in seven years last weekend by coming off the bench to score a superb try in England's 47-15 win over Italy.

Given his fine form and mercurial talent, Cipriani had emerged as a key target for Toulon who were prepared to offer him a king's ransom to persuade him to cross the Channel and play in France's Top 14 on a lucrative salary

Sale's Premiership rivals Harlequins and Gloucester had also made enquiries about luring him away from the North West with big-spending Championship Bristol also hovering in the background.

However, Cipriani has relished living in Manchester where he has been allowed to quietly go about his work without the media frenzy that accompanied him when he was living in London and playing for Wasps.

In the wake of signing his new deal, Cipriani will be back in Sale colours on Saturday for their crucial Premiership clash against Saracens at the AJ Bell Stadium, having been released to play in the game by England head coach Stuart Lancaster.

And the fly-half revealed he was happy to have finally concluded talks which first began before Christmas and commit his long-term future to the Sharks.

"I am delighted to have put pen to paper at last and signed the new deal," 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.

"It's a quality set-up and the future looks great at the club with some exciting times ahead.

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

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

Cipriani's delight at committing his long-term future to Sale was shared by the Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond whose guidance and support has proved a key factor in helping inspire the playmaker back to his very best form.

It's also a significant development in the club's bid to attract new fans and also persuade lapsed supporters back to the fold.

Diamond is in no doubt as to Cipriani's crucial importance to Sale and has established a close rapport with the player over the past two and half years.

And he said Cipriani's commitment to the club spoke volumes as to Sale's long-term ambitions to challenge England's elite.

"The fact that Danny has signed his new deal and committed to Sale is a major statement for everybody," said the Sale boss.

"Danny is a top quality player and he's been a very big part in our success over the past year or so.

"He's also been very happy living here in Manchester and everyone at the club is absolutely delighted that he is staying at the club and will be a big part of our plans going forward."

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