Cipriani set to sign new deal with Sale Sharks

Danny Cipriani says Sale Sharks will be ready for Harlequins despite the short turn around

English Premiership Rugby club Sale Sharks have revealed that England flyhalf Danny Cipriani is in line to sign a new deal with the club.

Cipriani has been linked with French Top 14 Rugby and Heineken Cup champions Toulon but earlier this week he was named in the England Six Naitons squad.

A move to France would rule Cipriani out of contention for England selection and with a Rugby World cup taking place in England later this year a move to France looks less atractive.

Cipriani is currently in the third and final season of his Sale contract but Steve Diamond, the north-west side’s director of rugby, is confident he will stay put.

“It is not signed on the dotted line yet, but it will be over the next three to four days,” Diamond told Saturday’s edition of Britain’s Daily Telegraph.

“We are very close to agreeing terms as we speak. We are just crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s over Danny’s career at Sale,” he added.

Sale, presently eighth in the 12-strong Premiership table, have been seen as an ‘unfashionable’ club but Diamond was optimistic Cipriani would not leave for one of their domestic rivals.

“I have confirmed to him that we are ambitious and want to be more than a top-six side over the next few years and he believes in that, believes in what we are doing and the crowds are building as we want them to,” he said.

“There’s a lot of conjecture about what other clubs spend, but what we spend is linked to what comes through the gate. If we can continue to get 8,500 and 10,000 crowds then we can be ambitious as the rest and that’s what Danny wanted to hear.”

Cipriani joined Sale from the Melbourne Rebels and earned an England recall last for last year’s tour of New Zealand, in which he made two appearances to take his caps haul to nine — a meagre return given he made his Test debut in 2008.

Speculation about a move to France intensified after he didn’t play in any of England’s November internationals.

Diamond said now was not the time for Cipriani to join Toulon, explaining he was better off being the fulcrum of Sale’s attack rather than just another cog in the French side’s star-studded wheel.

“To a certain extent it is good to be a big fish in a small pond rather than joining Toulon where you are a Harlem Globetrotter,” Diamond explained.

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