Friday, 22 June, 2018

Danny Cipriani named in England squad for first time in three years

Billy Vunipola returns from a broken arm Billy Vunipola returns from a broken arm
Cassandra Gardner | 11 May, 2018, 00:59

Ben Earl, Jonny Hill, Dan Robson, Brad Shields, Ben Spencer, Cameron Redpath and Jack Willis are all included along with uncapped Nathan Earle. His last start for England was a decade ago.

England coach Eddie Jones on Thursday included eight new caps in his 31-man squad to tour SA in June‚ including Hurricanes flank Brad Shields and mercurial flyhalf Danny Cipriani.

"We have an opportunity to create some history next month and win the Test series‚ something no England side has done before".

"It's a mission for us, we're on a mission for England rugby and the mission is to win in South Africa".

"But there's nothing better to inspire to work a bit harder and to work together than to climb a big mountain".

Billy Vunipola (Saracens) is recalled after recovering from injury having last played for England in the 2017 Six Nations.

By having his NZR contract nullified‚ he is free to play for England‚ despite having not played any club rugby in that country.

Brilliantly talented but also too often disruptive, the 30-year-old is leaving Wasps at the end of the season and is now without a club.

Fly-half Cipriani made the last of his 14 worldwide appearances in August 2015 and has been regularly overlooked for selection. He can add value to the squad at this stage.

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"He's got to prove he's the best 10 or best 15 in the squad".

Saracens flyhalf/centre Owen Farrell will captain England in SA where they haven't won a Test since 2000.

"Life is full of contradictions".

"I've picked him for the first time", said Jones of Cipriani.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) released a sternly-worded statement just hours before England confirmed Shields' selection, in which the head of professional rugby, Chris Lendrum, said: "We are extremely disappointed that the RFU chose to take this unusual step in seeking this release given that Brad has not yet played rugby in England".

"He is a considerable influence for the Hurricanes, a team that has a lot of skill and talent".

"We didn't play great rugby in the Six Nations, we want to play better rugby in South Africa - we know we are playing a reinvigorated team".

But asked why he had to pick a player not playing in England or hasn't come through the English system, Jones deflected. So I get a list of England-qualified players and I pick the best. "I don't decide the regulations".

Jones has strengthened his coaching team for the tour with the addition of Scott Wisemantel, a 48-year-old Australian, as attack consultant.

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