Cipriani ready to return to bolster struggling Wasps

The last time Wasps played Bath at Adams Park, in last season's Guinness Premiership semi-final, the brilliant young outside-half Danny Cipriani wrecked his right ankle so comprehensively that grown men felt sick at the sight of the damage and experienced coaches feared England's latest potential world-beater would spend at least a year struggling to beat anything more substantial than an egg. Yet when Bath return to High Wycombe next Wednesday night, they may, miraculously, face Cipriani again.

If the West Countrymen would rather the most dynamic playmaking midfielder in the country delayed his comeback just a little longer, the rest of the red-rose nation will celebrate his return in the way they once toasted Jonny Wilkinson's regular recoveries from orthopaedic trauma. Cipriani had been expected to miss the first three months of the season at the very minimum, having suffered a fracture dislocation that left his non-kicking foot bent at an angle previously unknown to geometry. Instead, he looks like getting himself back on the field eight weeks earlier than even the greatest optimists anticipated.

"It's going to be emotional," he said last night in a television interview with Sky Sports, confirming his intention to feature on the replacements' bench. "I'll have to calm myself a bit... I had doubts about returning and I voiced my opinions, but my friends told me to be quiet and get on with it. That's what I've tried to do."

Cipriani, still five weeks or so shy of his 21st birthday, admitted memories of the injury were still fresh in his mind. "I remember my body going numb and not feeling too much pain," he said, "but when I looked at my ankle, my brain told me I was meant to feel pain, so I suddenly did. My surgeon, James Calder, did a fantastic job. I'm glad I saw the X-rays that evening because they showed the ankle was dead straight. I could see it was going to realign properly and that everything would be fine in the end."

Assuming his early rugby goes to plan, England's new manager, Martin Johnson, will be sorely tempted to involve him in the November international series at Twickenham – possibly towards the back end, when last year's World Cup runners-up meet the champions, South Africa, and New Zealand in consecutive weeks. Cipriani is not in the 32-man elite party, but has been included in the second-string Saxons squad and could, form and fitness willing, be promoted.

Had the youngster put together a full season of Test rugby last time out, he might have made the shortlist for the International Rugby Board's Player of the Year award. As it is, three Celts will fight the British corner: two Welshmen, the wing Shane Williams and the No 8 Ryan Jones, along with the Scotland scrum-half Mike Blair. Italy's captain, Sergio Parisse, and the All Black outside-half Dan Carter are the other contenders.

Williams is the early favourite, but Warren Gatland, who coached the Red Dragonhood to a Grand Slam last season, extolled the virtues of both his charges. "To have two players rated in the top five of the world game is a high accolade," he said.

3

The number of England appearances made by Danny Cipriani.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam