Rugby World Cup 2019: Danny Cipriani breaks public silence after England squad omission

Gloucester fly-half was dropped from Eddie Jones’s squad last month and does not appear to have been included on the injury replacement list drafted up by the England head coach

Jack de Menezes
Friday 16 August 2019 09:52
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Rugby World Cup 2019: England's 31-man squad

Danny Cipriani has spoken publicly for the first time since being axed from England’s Rugby World Cup squad, with the fly-half admitting that he “can’t be disappointed”.

The Gloucester No 10 was included in England’s first two training camps, but cut from the squad before last month’s warm-weather trip to Treviso, ending his hopes of making the 31-man party that will fly to Japan on 8 September.

The 31-year-old has been in direct competition with Owen Farrell and George Ford since Eddie Jones took charge of the national team, but the Australian has not taken Cipriani’s attacking-based game after regularly leaving him out of his squads. Jones has again decided to do just that for the World Cup, with only two natural fly-halves named in the squad in the form of Farrell and Ford and both Piers Francis and Henry Slade earmarked as emergency cover.

The omission ends Cipriani’s dream of featuring at a Rugby World Cup, having been overlooked by Martin Johnson in 2011 and cut at the final hurdle by Stuart Lancaster four years ago.

I would have loved to be involved in England’s Rugby World Cup squad. It has been a seven-year goal with different challenges along the way, Cipriani wrote in his column for The Telegraph.

But I can’t be disappointed because there was honestly no expectation from my side. It was never my right. I never thought: 'Last season went pretty well, I should be picked'.

All in all, I had two weeks in camp, then a week on my own with my sprint coach Margot Wells after being told I needed the extra conditioning. Then there was one final training session with game-based drills on the Friday, led by Eddie Jones.

“Afterwards, later that afternoon on my way back down to Cheltenham, he rang to say I would not be going out to Italy. Three days later, on the following Monday, I flew to Los Angeles and I have been here since.”

Cipriani also confirmed that he has had no contact from Jones regarding whether or not he is on the injury replacement list, and given that the Australian confirmed at Monday’s squad announcement that he has already spoken to players who could feature in Japan as late call-ups, it would suggest that Cipriani is completely out of the reckoning beyond an injury crisis.

The stand-off has been given extra time away from Gloucester despite pre-season being underway, Cipriani confirmed that he will return to the Premiership club at the end of the month in time for the new club season.

Danny Cipriani has been left out of Eddie Jones' England squad

“For me, right now, all I can focus on is how I can become better for my experience with England, and not just as a rugby player as a leader and as a person, too,” he added.

Eddie has said that everyone needs to be ready and the best way to do that is for me to be the best version of myself at Gloucester. I have not been told where I am in the England pecking order, but if the stars align and the call does come at any point, I’ll be ready. I felt ready seven years ago.

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