'Gutted' Cipriani not giving up on England


Danny Cipriani is refusing to give up on international rugby despite being left "gutted" by missing out on England's Six Nations squad.

Sale Sharks fly-half Cipriani has had a difficult relationship was his national team, making his debut in 2008 but experiencing disciplinary problems and amassing only 14 caps in total. 

He was omitted from Stuart Lancaster's Rugby World Cup squad last year, despite some consistent performances in the Premiership.

The appointment of Eddie Jones as Lancaster's successor in November gave Cipriani renewed hope of an England recall.

Jones though did not include Cipriani in his 33-man squad for the Six Nations opener against Scotland next month, leaving his international career in further doubt.

But the 28-year-old retains hope of wearing the England jersey again, and also congratulated Sale team-mate Josh Beaumont, who has earned his first call-up.

"Obviously gutted not to be involved in the initial Six Nations squad - can only get back to Sale and continue to play and improve in all areas to try to get picked," he wrote on Instagram. 

"Been happy with my form but know there is more I can do - that's all that is in my control.

"Congrats to the new caps and especially @joshbeaumont392 - watching him play for the last couple of seasons. He really deserves it! I'll get back to wearing the red rose again - that's the dream."

Jones, who named George Ford and Owen Farrell as the specialist fly-halves in his squad, also gave Cipriani hope of a recall.

"He knows what he has got to do," Jones told Sky Sports. "We know he is a talented player. He's not far away. We're hopeful if he can attend to those things he can come back into the reckoning."

While there was disappointment for Cipriani, there was delight for Saracens winger Chris Ashton, who earned a recall having been regularly overlooked by Lancaster.

"I always felt I was never quite in Stuart's plans, you get the feeling with people and coaches or whatever that you're on the edge looking in," he told BBC 5live. 

"That's kind of how it was with Stuart. No matter how hard I trained he felt more comfortable with the other lads, that's how the relationship went and there was nothing I could have done to change that I didn't feel.

"Hopefully Eddie coming in gives me a new lease of life."