Sport

Bryan Redpath expects Danny Cipriani to put club before country as he makes Premiership return at Sale Sharks

By Barrie White – Sports News Editor

Director of Rugby Bryan Redpath says England bad-boy Danny Cipriani will need to impress in a Sale Sharks’ shirt if he wants an international return.

The 24-year-old is set to join the Sharks this summer after negotiating an early release from his Melbourne Rebels contract to link up with fellow new signing Richie Gray.

And Redpath, who started his second spell at the Sharks this week, believes that the former Wasps fly-half is facing his last chance to establish himself as an Aviva Premiership star.

“This is probably his last chance to impress the England set-up,” said Redpath, who left Gloucester after seven years.

“But my words to him will be ‘forget about the England impression, it’s all about impressing at Sale Sharks. You’ll not get near England if you don’t impress here.

“And if to do that, you’ve got to stick to team themes and the team ethos on and off the pitch. It’s the same for everybody – if we all stick to the same procedures, then everyone will be fine.

“Let’s not make a problem before it’s started. But I understand questions will be raised around Danny because of what he’s been over the last five years.

“I’m sure that he’ll understand coming back into the environment that he’s got a lot of points to prove to himself as well as anyone else.”

NEW TEAM: Steve Diamond and Bryan Redpath at Sale

Redpath is a coach of the highest quality, coaching Gloucester to five finals and two semi-finals in his time at Kingsholm, but admitted that after a poor run of form, it was the right time to resign.

However, his former club stated that they would pursue legal action if it was found that any illegal approaches were made to the 40-year-old from his new employers.

But the former Scotland captain refuted any allegations of wrongdoing, insisting he left the club for rugby reasons and is thankful to Gloucester for giving him his coaching start.

He said: “The speculation around the x and y’s is always going to happen, but I had a contract that I had resigned on.

“Of course there’s speculation – I was under contract so of course there’ll be speculation about potentially going here or there, as there is for every other manager or head coach.

“I chose to make a decision that it was time for me to move on and I never personally had any discussions with anybody else at any other club.

“I took my responsibilities at Gloucester very seriously. We never lost more than two home games in the whole season before last season, where we lost four games at home and lost eight games in the season, going into last ten minutes in the lead.

“I genuinely felt my time had been done with that group of players and it was time to move on. I went away and didn’t get involved in any discussions. People representing me were looking at options around Cardiff and Munster. It’s just the way it happens. I was bitterly disappointed with the way the season worked out for me.”

Redpath, who was captain at Sale during his five years with the club before departing in 2005, is excited by the challenge of building on tlast year’s excellent sixth place.

That sealed a Heineken Cup place and Redpath wants to test his side against the giants of European rugby union at the Salford City stadium next year.

“Staying in that top six is bloody difficult. You have to work hard to be in that top six. The LV= Cup is an opportunity for teams to win and get in the Heineken, but the Premiership is the bread and butter for me.

“I really hope that we get a Munster, a Leinster or a Stade Francais, a Toulouse or a Clermont, because these are the teams that you want to come and watch.

“We need to, as a club, need to not be intimidated by the challenge that lies ahead. We mustn’t go into our shells and realise it’s tough.

“To be in the top six of the Premiership every year would be difficult, because everybody is trying to do it.”

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