Cipriani told to capitalise on second chance

ENGLAND head coach Stuart Lancaster has challenged Danny Cipriani to repay his show of faith after recalling the fly-half to the international fold for the first time in six years yesterday.

Cipriani, 26, won the last of seven England caps in November 2008 but was named by Lancaster in a 20-man training squad ahead of this summer’s three-Test tour to New Zealand and home friendly with Barbarians.

End of season play-offs and European finals mean Lancaster has left out a host of regular star names for now, handing a rare opportunity to impress to 10 uncapped players, plus Cipriani.

And having seemingly put a string of off-field misdemeanours behind him – including being hit by a double-decker bus while on a pub crawl – to find his best form for Sale this season, Cipriani has been told to make the most of his second chance.

“I judge players on their form for their club. Reputation and what they’ve done in the past counts for something, but not everything,” said Lancaster, set to name his final touring party to New Zealand on 26 May.

“Fly-half is such a pivotal position. Players like Freddie Burns, Stephen Myler, Owen Farrell and George Ford are already up to speed with our gameplan and plays. Danny would have to get up to speed with all of that and then deliver at international level in terms of execution. That’s the challenge for players coming into an international side.”

Centre Billy Twelvetrees has been included by Lancaster, despite struggling with an ankle injury, boosting a Red Rose squad that will travel to Auckland for the first Test against the All Blacks on 7 June without the players involved in the Premiership final a week earlier, which could include captain Chris Robshaw of Harlequins.

■ 20-man training squad
■ Kieran Brookes
■ Freddie Burns
■ Danny Cipriani
■ Dave Ewers
■ Luke Cowan-Dickie
■ Sam Hill
■ Tom Johnson
■ Matt Kvesic
■ Jonny May
■ Ben Morgan
■ Michael Paterson
■ Chris Pennell
■ Charlie Sharples
■ Dan Robson
■ Tommy Taylor
■ Henry Slade
■ Henry Thomas
■ Henry Trinder
■ Billy Twelvetrees
■ Marland Yarde

*Players to be added before 26 May