Sport International Rugby

Tuesday 23 October 2018

'Danny's probably third or fourth choice' - Eddie Jones offers blunt assessment of Cipriani after squad omission

File photo dated 14-09-2018 of Gloucester's Danny Cipriani, who has been omitted from Englands training squad which convenes next week, the Rugby Football Union has announced. Manu Tuilagi and Chris Ashton have been named in the squad. David Davies/PA Wire.
File photo dated 14-09-2018 of Gloucester's Danny Cipriani, who has been omitted from Englands training squad which convenes next week, the Rugby Football Union has announced. Manu Tuilagi and Chris Ashton have been named in the squad. David Davies/PA Wire.

Duncan Bech

Eddie Jones insists the exclusion of Danny Cipriani from England's training squad reflects his place in the fly-half pecking order.

Despite being England's starting playmaker in their most recent game against South Africa and producing an excellent opening to the season at Gloucester, Jones has omitted Cipriani from the 36-man group who will take part in a three-day training camp in Bristol starting on Sunday.

The 30-year-old was convicted of common assault and resisting arrest and fined a total of £4,000 following an incident outside a nightclub that took place during Gloucester's pre-season tour to Jersey.

But Jones insists it is form and not that indiscretion that has shaped his thinking, with Owen Farrell and George Ford the two fly-halves called up.

"That's the case, 100 per cent. We've decided just to have two stand-offs in the squad for this particular camp because we want them to get a lot of training time," Jones said.

"At the moment we've got Owen and George, who I believe are the first two fly-halves, and then comes Danny.

"Danny's probably third or fourth choice and he knows what he's got to work on, which is between Danny and I.

"He's disappointed but he understands. He's desperate to play for England, which is terrific."

Manu Tuilagi makes his first appearance in an England squad in over a year after overcoming a dreadful succession of injuries.

Serious groin and knee problems have prevented the nation's most destructive threequarter from making an international start since 2014, his last appearance coming as a replacement against Wales two years ago.

The 27-year-old has started all three of Leicester's games this season and capped a fine performance against Newcastle with a try.

"It's the first time in the three years I've been in England that Manu's been fit," Jones said.

"He's put together a series of games and we're looking forward to him continuing on that run. He's got the opportunity to come in and show us what he's got."

Included despite being midway through a seven-week ban for a tip tackle made during Sale's pre-season victory at Castres is wing Chris Ashton.

Ashton has yet to make a competitive appearance for the Sharks following his summer recruitment from Toulon, but Jones will take a look at the rugby league convert before naming his squad for the autumn series on October 18.

"It's a judgement. Selection is a judgement, and my judgement is that Ashton's going to be important for us in November," Jones said.

"We've kept close checks on what he's doing training-wise, Sale have been very good in working with us on him and we believe that he could be potentially available for selection."

Bath giant Joe Cokanasiga offers another wing option and scrum-half Danny Care is back, but there is no place for veteran forwards Dan Cole and James Haskell, while emerging back rows Sam Underhill and Sam Simmonds are overlooked.

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