Danny Cipriani, the mercurial former Wasps and England fly half, kicked a last minute penalty to secure the new Melbourne Rebels their first Super 15 victory 25-24 over the ACT Brumbies on Friday. Cipriani, in his first start for the Rebels, kicked 20 points as the Rebels bounced back after their opening day shocking loss 43-0 to NSW Waratahs. In a real back and forth battle, it was the experienced Brumbies who went in leaders at the half 16-9. However, Cipriani’s solid penalty kicking drew the scores closer at 16-15; ever the veteran, Matt Giteau pushed ACT further ahead with a clever drop goal.
After great counter attacks from both sides, neither were able to get over, until a break from rugby league convert Cooper Vuna put Stirling Mortlock over for the historic Rebels first try to take the lead at 22-19. On the ensuing restart, however, the wealth of experience in the ACT back line took over as Giteau and Adam Ashley Cooper hooked up to help Henry Speight over in the corner. Giteau, Toulon bound at the end of the season, missed the conversion; this allowed Danny Cipriani to hit the winning penalty and give the Rebels their first win in breathtaking circumstances.
It is great to see Danny Cipriani playing so well, and English fans should be hoping that this once hot English prospect plays consistently well and eradicates the errors that plagued his English career. However, he still seems to be troubled by his desire for a playboy lifestyle with the Rebels investigating him for an alleged incident at a nightclub earlier in the week. Let’s hope he takes his team’s name less seriously and straightens himself out.