Gatland not ruling out Cipriani for Lions tour


Warren Gatland has revealed that snubbed England fly-half Danny Cipriani could force his way into the British and Irish Lions squad for the tour of New Zealand next year.

Cipriani has not played for his country since coming off the bench in a World Cup warm-up against France in August 2015.

The playmaker has caught the eye this season since returning to Wasps from Sale Sharks, though, and Lions head coach Gatland is not ruling the 29-year-old out of contention for a surprise place on the plane. 

"I've spoken to Cipriani," said Gatland. "I coached him as a kid [at Wasps]. He's not everyone's flavour of the month but he has some talent and ability and I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't discuss him.

"There are players outside international squads we have mentioned. Maybe their personality is not right or the countries are looking towards 2019 [World Cup]. 

"But the Lions is different. We have not ruled out anyone."

Gatland also expressed his disappointment that incoming Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend, currently in charge of Glasgow Warriors, was unable to take up a role in his backroom team.

The New Zealander added: "When I spoke to Gregor he did have a release clause in his contract and was hugely excited at possibly going,

"My non-comment probably tells you [my thoughts]. Scotland have made a long-term commitment to Gregor and made it early.

"If he'd come with us, and Scotland didn't have a great Six Nations [in 2018] then there would be complaints that Gregor didn't take them on tour.

"That's the short-term view. Yet would it be of benefit to the development of Gregor in the long-term to be involved with the best players in the home unions against the best in the world? Yes."