Saturday 27 May 2017

'The last thing we want to do is make this a Johnny Sexton-Danny Cipriani Lions showdown' - Dai Young

Danny Cipriani and Johnny Sexton
Danny Cipriani and Johnny Sexton

Nick Purewal

Wasps boss Dai Young insists Danny Cipriani will not fall prey to a British and Irish Lions selection sideshow showdown with Johnny Sexton at Leinster on Saturday.

Rugby director Young has complete confidence that England discard Cipriani will park his Lions ambitions in a bid to steer Wasps into a European Champions Cup semi-final.

Livewire fly-half Cipriani has remained surplus to requirements under England head coach Eddie Jones, but could still force his way into Warren Gatland's Lions squad for the summer's New Zealand tour.

Young fully expects the 29-year-old to reject that head-to-head tussle with established Lion Sexton, however,

"The last thing from our point of view that we're going to turn this into is a Danny Cipriani versus Johnny Sexton competition," said Young, with Lions boss Gatland naming his touring squad next month.

"I'm sure Danny will want to be playing rugby somewhere in the summer, but he's no different from anybody else.

"Every game is a chance for people to state their Lions case, but for us it's solely about making sure we play our game.

"All the side-plots are for after the game.

"From our point of view, players that want to progress and play rugby in the summer, the longer we're in competitions, the more chance they've got of forcing their way in.

"Danny's one of 15 players - he's a quality player, we all know that - but they've got a number of quality players too.

"In fairness to Danny, he's really led us well this season and I don't expect him to do any different this weekend.

"And I'd like think his full focus really is doing well for Wasps. He knows if he does well for Wasps, and Wasps do well, that can help his ambitions both on the big tour, or if you don't get on that, obviously I'm sure he'll want to get on the England tour to Argentina."

South Africa flyer Willie Le Roux suffered a suspected concussion in Wasps' 40-33 Aviva Premiership win over Worcester on Sunday.

Both Le Roux and centre Alapati Leiua must complete return-to-play protocols to be passed fit for Saturday, with Young admitting he must make last-minute calls on the influential pair.

"Obviously Wille Le Roux is going through the standard return-to-play protocols, but Alapati picked up a knock in the last couple of minutes as well," Young said.

"So he's got to go through the protocols as well.

"Both of them are fine, both are two days into the protocol and looking pretty good, but as you know it's a five or six-day standard protocol so it's going to go right until the wire.

"We're not really going to know properly if they're fit probably until Friday.

"But it's looking pretty positive."

James Haskell is carrying a couple of niggles, but Young expects the England flanker's recovery to be more straightforward.

"James is still going through some rehab at the minute," the Welshman added. "He's got a dead leg and he's picked up a bit of a back spasm, but apart from that he's all right.

"He's limping about out there but he's pretty confident that (on Wednesday) he'll be okay."

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