Danny Cipriani Upbeat After England Omission
Sale fly-half Danny Cipriani vowed to ‘get his head down’ after being left out of England’s squad for the autumn internationals.
The 26-year-old had pushed himself into the frame by demonstrating a new-found maturity to supplement his undoubted natural talent – helping the Sharks win qualification for this season’s European Rugby Champions Cup and shining during a brief cameo during England’s spring tour of New Zealand.
Despite many calling for his inclusion for the November clashes with the world champion All Blacks, South Africa, Samoa and Australia, England head coach Stuart Lancaster has instead opted to select Owen Farrell, George Ford and Stephen Myler as his stand-offs.
Cipriani told Sky Sports News HQ: “It’s disappointing but it doesn’t change daily habits. I’m still trying to get better every day in training and in every day. If that’s my focus on improving and throughout the season I keep improving, hopefully by the end of the year I’ll be better.
“There are options in all positions when it comes to selection and I think that’s a great thing for the England selectors – they have so many great players to pick from.
“I’ve just got to get back to getting my head down and make the right sounds on the field.
“I think with every English player, all they want to do is represent England. It’s the biggest honour in the game and I think it’s just important to keep doing my day-to-day work and keep my habits good.”
Sale head coach Steve Diamond, one of several big names to have championed Cipriani’s claims, said of the news: “It’s a surprise. The coaches have a tough decision because they’ve got four players playing well but I think what Danny offers, the other three don’t.
“I think in the latter games, when we came up against Munster, and Bath came up against Glasgow and Northampton against Castres – those are the big games you should be judged on and I think Danny came out on top in those.
“I’m really surprised he’s not in.”
World Cup winner and Sky Sports pundit Will Greenwood attempted to clarify Lancaster’s thinking, adding: “Myler’s got the nod because he’s much more of a like-for-like for Farrell. The argument will rage – who’s my guy to bring off the bench to transform a game? I’d make Ford my number two for this because his passing game is outstanding.
“I think the public want someone who can get on the ball, who can be the striker with the all-court game and Cipriani and Burns are your running fly-halves. They’d run more than any of these three would like to run, which suggests Lancaster, Andy Farrell, Graham Rowntree and Mike Catt want their fly-half to be an organiser and put their team in the right position. They want an 85% goal-kicker.”
*Article: Sky Sports