Saturday 17 August 2019

Danny Cipriani's World Cup hopes dealt a blow after being omitted from England's latest training squad

Danny Cipriani. Photo: Sportsfile
Danny Cipriani. Photo: Sportsfile

Danny Cipriani is a surprise omission from England's 38-man squad for their pre-World Cup camp in Treviso.

Cipriani was included among the 35 players originally selected in Eddie Jones' training group on July 4 but the Gloucester fly-half will not be travelling to Italy on Monday afternoon.

For last week's gathering in Bristol, Cipriani was one of three players alongside Anthony Watson and Sam Underhill separated from the main squad in order to undertake "specialised strength and conditioning work". Watson and Underhill, however, have been picked for Treviso.

Cirpiani is not injured with the Rugby Football Union stating he is victim of Jones' fluid approach to selection before naming his final World Cup squad on August 12.

However, the reigning players' player of the year and Premiership player of the year has not been given an explanation by Jones for being left out, instead just being told he is not going to Italy.

With all of England's front line players included, his omission is a blow to his hopes of participating in the global showpiece.

Also missing from the warm weather camp that runs for 12 days is Ben Moon, but his loosehead rival Joe Marler is present following his return from international retirement.

The exclusion of Moon points to Marler and Ellis Genge supporting Mako Vunipola in the position when the final World Cup squad is named.

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Mike Brown continues his unexpected return to the the fold that began in Bristol a week ago by earning a spot on the plane bound for Treviso.

Brown appeared destined to miss the tournament in Japan that begins on September 20 when he was overlooked for the original training squad, but has unexpectedly forced his way back into Jones' plans.

"Selection is absolutely challenging, we have left some good players doing work at their clubs and they must be ready if called up," Jones said.

"Treviso is a hard yards camp with conditions similar to Tokyo. Team training will be about being adaptable and off the field enjoying each other's company."

Former Wales and Lions wing Shane Williams believes the World Cup will be poorer for the absence of Cipriani if Jones overlooks him.

"I'm not surprised that he's been left out because with Eddie Jones anything can happen," said Williams, an ambassador for World Cup 2019 host cities Osaka and Kobe.

"But Danny is such an exciting player who reminds me of Gavin Henson back in my day - he was capable of doing anything.

"It would have been nice to see him get a bit more time because he's a world beater. I enjoy watching him play.

"Does he fit into the Owen Farrell and Eddie Jones way? I'm not sure. But he's a player who can win you games.

"It's a shame because he's been asked to go away and work on his game. He's done that and proved he's a world-class player, but he may not get the chance now.

"Fingers crossed for him because he's a great lad who has worked hard and grown up a lot over the years."

England training squad:

Forwards: D Cole (Leicester Tigers), L Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), T Curry (Sale Sharks), C Ewels (Bath Rugby), E Genge (Leicester Tigers), J George (Saracens), M Itoje (Saracens), G Kruis (Saracens), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton Saints), L Ludlam (Northampton Saints), J Marler (Harlequins), B Shields (Wasps), K Sinckler (Harlequins), J Singleton (Saracens), S Underhill (Bath Rugby), B Vunipola (Saracens), M Vunipola (Saracens), H Williams (Exeter Chiefs), M Wilson (Newcastle Falcons/Sale Sharks).

Backs: M Brown (Harlequins), J Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), E Daly (Saracens), O Farrell (Saracens), G Ford (Leicester Tigers), P Francis (Northampton Saints), W Heinz (Gloucester Rugby), J Joseph (Bath Rugby), J Marchant (Harlequins), J May (Leicester Tigers), R McConnochie (Bath Rugby), J Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), H Slade (Exeter Chiefs), B Spencer (Saracens), B Te'o (unattached), M Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), A Watson (Bath Rugby), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

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