Fly-half Danny Cipriani has been omitted from England coach Eddie Jones's 33-man squad for the upcoming Six Nations.
In a repeat of England's World Cup squad announcement, Cipriani has lost out to George Ford and Owen Farrell, with Jones following his predecessor Stuart Lancaster in only selecting two fly-halves.
Whereas Cipriani's omission from the World Cup was always inevitable - despite his strong form at the time - there seemed a very real possibility that the Sale stand-off would be given the opportunity to add to his 14 test caps next month.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250-word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay4
With England dogged by midfield issues again - this time in the form of injury to Henry Slade, with Manu Tuilagi only just returning from an extended period on the sidelines himself - Jones may well have selected Farrell as an auxiliary centre, leaving Ford and Cipriani left to battle it out for the starting ten shirt.
Jones may well still chose to select Farrell at 12 - he played there alongside Ford at the 2011 IRB Junior World Championship - however, Cipriani will feel aggrieved that the uncapped duo of Sam Hill and Ollie Devoto have effectively been selected ahead of him.
Article continues below
Article continues below
What now for Cipriani?
With Farrell's recent form in a dominant Saracens side and Ford's renowned ability as a playmaker, Cipriani was unlikely to edge out either of these two direct rivals - despite Bath's poor form so far this season - however, this latest snub leaves his international inspirations delicately poised.
The former London Wasp reportedly turned down a lucrative move to European Champions Toulon last year; in the hope of extending his international career and will be bitterly disappointed to miss out once more.
Cipriani's international career began way back in 2008 when, in his first start, the stand-off produced one of the most complete performances by an England back in recent memory.
Tasmanian-born coach Jones insisted that "the door is not shut for anyone" following the announcement and Cipriani remains only an injury way from inclusion, but at 28 the window of opportunity is narrowing rapidly for the former prodigy.
At 22 and 24 respectively, both Ford and Farrell represent more viable options as Jones builds for the next World Cup in 2019, whilst Slade could also revert to his favoured position of fly-half in the future.
For now, Cipriani must look to continue his good form for Sale Sharks and aim to replicate recent performances, such as his match-winning display against Waps on January 2.
England begin their Six Nations campaign on February 6, with a tricky trip to Murrayfield, as they aim to retain the Calcutta Cup in what will be Jones's first game in charge.
Do you think Danny Cipriani should have been included in England's 33-man squad? Have your say in the comment box below!