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Page last updated at 08:12 GMT, Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Danny Cipriani to make debut on bench

Danny Cipriani
Cipriani has hopes of an England recall

England fly-half Danny Cipriani will start the Melbourne Rebels' first Super 15 match this weekend on the bench.

The 23-year-old was the first signing for the Melbourne franchise as they make their debut in the competition.

The former Wasps player, who has seven England caps, has not played for his country since the 42-6 defeat by South Africa at Twickenham in November 2008.

Cipriani's omission will be a blow to his hopes of earning a recall to the England team ahead of the World Cup.

James Hilgendorf will instead start as number 10 in Friday's opener against the New South Wales Waratahs.

Rebels coach Rod Macqueen said: "We're looking at the team as the 22 so I don't see it as a big issue as perhaps other people do.

"But having said that, Jimmy Hilgendorf played very well throughout the trials and we think this time that Jimmy would be better starting," he added.

Cipriani's fellow British import, Wales back-row Gareth Delve, does make the starting line-up for the game against NSW Waratahs.

The former Gloucester and Bath player lines up at number eight and takes the vice-captain's armband, with Australia centre Stirling Mortlock leading the side.

Former Bath and England flanker Michael Lipman also starts at open-side flanker.

Melbourne Rebels: Julian Huxley; Luke Rooney, Stirling Mortlock (capt), Cooper Vuna, Lachlan Mitchell; James Hilgendorf, Sam Cordingley; Nic Henderson, Jed Robinson, Greg Somerville, Kevin O'Neill, Adam Byrnes, Hoani Macdonald, Michael Lipman, Gareth Delve (vice-capt).
Replacements: Danny Cipriani, Afusipa Taumoepeau, Nick Phipps, Jarrod Saffy, Al Campbell, Heath Tessmann, Laurie Weeks.

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see also
Delve leads Rebels to debut win
15 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Cipriani harbours World Cup hopes
10 Oct 10 |  Rugby Union
Cipriani joins MK Dons training
15 Sep 10 |  Rugby Union
Cipriani trains at US soccer club
03 Sep 10 |  Rugby Union
Cipriani stays in shape with QPR
19 Aug 10 |  Rugby Union
Cipriani mulls 2011 Wasps return
28 Apr 10 |  London Wasps
Cipriani agrees Melbourne switch
19 Feb 10 |  London Wasps

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