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Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Friday, 6 March 2009

Cipriani signs new Wasps contract

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Why I'm staying at Wasps - Cipriani

Danny Cipriani has signed a new one-year contract with Wasps, ending speculation over his immediate future.

The 21-year-old England fly-half, who had been linked with a move to Saracens, is one of 13 players to have committed themselves to the club.

England internationals Tim Payne, Tom Rees, Simon Shaw and Phil Vickery are also among those to have signed.

Vickery, Rees and Shaw have both signed for two years while Payne has committed to three years.

Cipriani's contract negotiations had hit a stumbling block over his salary demands.

The player had been reportedly seeking between £200,000 and £350,000 per year, with Wasps offering only £170,000.

It prompted former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio, now a member of the Wasps board, to urge Cipriani to "think about more than money".

Dallaglio also made it clear he feels Wasps is the right place for Cipriani to force his way back into the England team after being dropped following disappointing displays in the autumn internationals against South Africa and Australia.

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Cipriani admitted he considered following team-mates James Haskell, Riki Flutey and Tom Palmer who will leave Wasps for French clubs next season.

"There were options to go elsewhere, which was nice, and you do think about it, but I've been at Wasps since I was 15 and I've developed a lot as a player and I hope to keep developing here for the rest of the season and next season," Cipriani explained.

"For me, it's just about playing my rugby and developing, and the best place I believe I can do that at the minute is at Wasps with the coaches I have around me. That's my reason for staying."

Other players who have agreed new deals at the club are Richard Birkett, Tom French, John Hart, Mark van Gisbergen, Dave Walder and Dominic Waldouck plus academy products Joe Simpson and James Honeyben.

Wasps director of rugby Ian McGeechan said: "We are delighted with the volume of players committing to the club for next season and for those to come.

"This is a great show of intent from the players and our board as we see a mixture of experienced and international calibre players combine with up-and-coming names.

"All of these play a pivotal role in our campaign both now and in the future and are core to the continuing development of the team and our rugby."

The news will come as a major boost for Wasps after the recent announcement that England trio Haskell, Flutey and Palmer will be leaving the club.

Flanker Haskell and lock Palmer are moving to Stade Francais in Paris, while centre Flutey is to join Brive.

Concerns have been raised that the superior financial resources of French clubs, who do not have salary cap restrictions unlike Premiership sides, would see even more players leave.

Wasps executive chairman Mark Rigby said: "We hope today goes an awful long way to putting an end to the speculation."



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see also
Trio quit Wasps to play in France
17 Feb 09 |  London Wasps
Cipriani tipped for England call
15 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Cipriani axed from England team
25 Nov 08 |  English


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