Fly-half Danny Cipriani has been backed for a recall to the England Rugby squad for the 2016 Six Nations by his club coach Steve Diamond, after a masterful display in the Sale Sharks 15-9 win over Wasps.
The 28-year-old featured for England during the 2015 Six Nations and also played in the summer QBE Internationals, but was overlooked by former head coach Stuart Lancaster for the infamous World Cup campaign as the hosts crashed out in the group stage.
New head coach Eddie Jones promised a “clean slate” for every player and Cipriani has produced a number of fine performances, giving the Australian a timely reminder of his immense talent. His latest display in awful conditions proved how far the fly-half has come as he controlled the game beautifully, kicking four penalties and a drop-goal to secure his side the win.
And Sale boss Steve Diamond believes his star player has to be part of Jones’s plans for the 2016 Six Nations, which kicks-off when England travel to Murrayfield to face Scotland on February 6th, saying: “Danny played really and he’s pushed into that potential England squad whenever it is announced. You learn more playing for a club like Sale where it doesn’t always go well.
“You have to learn how to develop as a player and Danny has done that over the past two or three years which is why he wants to stay around here for the next couple of years.
“He’s a leader by way of his skill sets but he’s also a leader by way of his influence. In these conditions he knows his skill isn’t always going to win us games. Instead he needs to put us in field positions.
“He has got the full compliment of skills. It’s so rare these days but so valuable and he has the full skill set.
“He’s more mature as a player and he understands what he has got to do. He has worked really hard on his kicking over the past few weeks and his defence has also come on leaps and bounds and he is a real team player for us.”
Injuries mounting ahead of Six Nations
While Cipriani’s dazzling form will no doubt delight Jones, the new man in charge will have to deal with a number of high-profile injuries, which could have a big impact on England’s 2016 RBS Six Nations campaign.
Tight-head prop Kieran Brookes is set for an extended spell on the sidelines with a knee injury. Fellow prop Alex Corbisiero is also out as he continues to struggle with knee issues.
After the blow of losing one of the most exciting backs in the country in Henry Slade, Jones also learned that electric winger Jonny May will miss the start of the Six Nations with a knee injury.