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Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Sunday, 1 May 2011 16:30 UK

Toulon cautious over possible Danny Cipriani deal

By Bryn Palmer

Danny Cipriani
Cipriani has had a mixed Super 15 season so far

Toulon have played down reports they will sign Danny Cipriani on a short-term deal during the World Cup (RWC) but don't deny interest in the player.

With Jonny Wilkinson (England), Felipe Contepomi (Argentina) and Matt Giteau (Australia) all set to be at the RWC, the French club are seeking a fly-half.

Toulon team manager Tom Whitford told BBC Sport: "We are in contact with a lot of players in France and abroad.

"Danny has a good pedigree but it is all speculation at the moment."

Cipriani, 23, is coming towards the end of his first season with Australian side Melbourne Rebels in Super 15 rugby.

The southern hemisphere tournament's regular season ends on 18 June, and the Rebels are unlikely to be involved in the play-offs beyond that date.

Unless England manager Martin Johnson ends Cipriani's international exile by calling him up for pre-World Cup training and three warm-up Tests in August, or the Churchill Cup with the Saxons in June, Cipriani effectively has a six-month window without any top-class rugby.

Toulon, who will make an announcement on Gavin Henson's future on Monday, need a fly-half who can fill in while Wilkinson, Contepomi and new recruit Giteau are away in New Zealand at the World Cup during September and October. The French season starts in August.

"We are looking for a 10 who can play in the Top 14 during the World Cup," Whitford confirmed.

"We are in contact with numerous players. I can't confirm as such whether we have been in contact with Cipriani's representatives or not, but he is obviously a talented player, and we try to sign talented players who would bring a lot to the team.

"Cipriani is a high-profile player, not just on the pitch but off it as well. We would like to concentrate on players performing on the pitch but of course he is a good player, he has a good pedigree and he has played for England."

Cipriani came on as a second-half replacement for the Rebels on Saturday in their 28-9 defeat by New South Wales Waratahs, which leaves them 14th in the table.

He was ejected from a nightclub in February for taking a bottle of vodka and fined by the Rebels, later issuing an apology for his behaviour.

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see also
Henson given reprieve by Toulon
02 May 11 |  Welsh
Cipriani fined over club incident
01 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union
Cipriani kicks Rebels to late win
25 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Cipriani to make debut on bench
16 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Cipriani agrees Melbourne switch
19 Feb 10 |  London Wasps

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