Danny Cipriani continued his sparkling form for Sale Sharks, with the fly-half instrumental in his side's stunning 12-55 win over the Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park yesterday.
In-front of watching England backs coach Andy Farrell, the former seven cap international showed why a number of well-respected figures in the game have been calling for his return ahead of this summer's tour of New Zealand.
Dictating play from the number 10 position - as he's done so often this term for his club - Cipriani was at his creative best in the early stages as the hosts were blown away by the Sharks.
Michael Paterson, Tom Arscott and Sam Tuitupou all crossed the line before Exeter troubled the scores, with Cipriani creating the second try and kicking two-out-of-three conversions.
Fetu'u Vainikolo's try made it 19-7 at the break, but another onslaught followed in the second period, leaving the mercurial Sale playmaker to enthuse about the team performance in a notoriously tricky place to travel.
"That was the best performance of the year from the lads. All the boys turned up, and Michael Paterson and Sam Tuitupou were particularly outstanding," Cipriani told GiveMeSport post-match.
"Understandably we're thrilled with how it went, and the coaches got the tactics spot on. It allowed both the team and me personally to play to the very best of our ability. I've been given more responsibility in the side and was happy to influence the game in the way that I did."
Tuitupou would score another try before the day was done, whilst Dwayne Peel, David Seymour, Tom Brady and Andrei Ostrikov also scored in an eight-try, bonus point win.
Cipriani was withdrawn from proceedings with the score at 33-7, adding another two points before his exit, and it's no surprise that he's happy with his performance given that Farrell was in attendance.
The former Melbourne Rebel has been turning heads all season at the AJ Bell Stadium, and his performances have helped the Sharks defy the critics and challenge for a place in the Aviva Premiership playoffs this season.
Yesterday's emphatic victory has kept their faint hopes alive, and Cipriani also wanted to pay tribute to the club's supporters who made the trip to the West Country for the clash.
"Have to say a special thank you to all the traveling supporters that made it to Exeter - it's a long old journey and we really do appreciate it! The performance made our bus ride home a lot of fun, and hopefully we made all the Sale fans happy as well," he concluded in an excitable interview with GiveMeSport.
Whilst they might just fall short of the playoffs, victory over the Chiefs means the Sharks will compete in the European Rugby Champions Cup next season, and it will be an opportunity for the number 10 to challenge Europe's best once again after a couple of years out of the spotlight.
Having initially burst onto the scene at Wasps, Cipriani made his England debut in 2008 before a succession of injuries put him out of the international picture. A season in Australia saw the fly-half test himself in the southern hemisphere, and that may well come in handy ahead of the trip to New Zealand at the end of the season.
Stuart Lancaster will continue to assess his options in the position, and the 26-year-old's name is certainly back in the frame alongside Owen Farrell and George Ford after another standout performance.
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