Rugby Union

Danny Cipriani interview: There is nobody hungrier to play for England

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Danny Cipriani has told GiveMeSport that he is thrilled to receive to be back in the England squad and hungry to play for his country once again.

The Sale Sharks number 10 last represented Stuart Lancater's side in the summer tour of New Zealand, but missed out on selection for the Autumn internationals months later.

An impressive run of form at the AJ Bell stadium has led to a clamouring of support for the Melbourne Rebel to be included in the England setup once again, and Cipriani was named in the extended practice squad ahead of the Six Nations yesterday (Wednesday).

Speaking to GiveMeSport in the aftermath of the call-up, the mercurial outside half knows the hard work now begins, and he'll be looking to make an impression at Pennyhill Park next week.

“I’m obviously very happy to be picked in the squad, but now the hard work begins for me to show what I can do," he said.

"It’s about going in and learning the whole culture that Stuart has built in the England camp. Everyone is so positive about it and I got a sense of that in New Zealand, bringing the pride and fight back into the shirt.

"There is nobody hungrier to play for England than myself, and I will try and show that in training."

Cipriani is one of four fly-halves in the training camp, with Bath's George Ford, Saracens; Owen Farrell and Northampton's Stephen Myler also selected by head coach Lancaster.

Competition for places

Whilst that means strong competition for a place in the 23-man squad to face Wales in the Six Nation opener on Friday, 6th February, it also means an opportunity to learn from other top players in the position.

Having enjoyed his time in the camp in New Zealand, Cipriani now hopes to improve once again and showcase a level of consistency which would make him difficult not to select.

"This is a fantastic chance to work up close and personal with three of the other best 10s in the country, getting the chance to see how they play and to bounce ideas off each other," he adds.

My point of difference has to be making consistently good decisions. I read the game well and that’s what I want to keep doing - all the other 10s do that as well, so it’s about being consistent in that area.

“Throughout the whole squad there is a lot of characters who have gone through a lot of different things and it’s going to be enjoyable to be around that and to develop myself. I really felt like being on tour in New Zealand, I got the chance to come away an even better player and start this season well, and if this can do that for me again hopefully I can kick onto another level."

Top 14 decision

Cipriani's international call-up is a timely one, given that his contract with Sale is up at the end of the season and some of the biggest clubs in France are rumoured to be interested in his services.

England's policy of not selecting players who compete abroad means that a move to the Top 14 would end his World Cup chances, and had he not been included in yesterday's squad then there would have been significantly less standing in his way.

No decision has been made by Cipriani yet, but he admits that international recognition from England 'does help'. The Sharks are hoping to agree a new deal, whilst other Aviva Premiership clubs have been mooted as possible destinations.

“I’ve got to make a decision in a few weeks, and getting recognition and being involved in the England squad does help of course," he concluded.

"There are things I’ve got to weigh up in relation to my career and my long-term future, and that’s something I will have to sit down and discuss with people close to me."

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Rugby Union
England Rugby
Six Nations
Danny Cipriani
Sale Sharks

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