Danny Cipriani’s World Cup Dreams Look to Be Over
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Done and dusted.
With the 2019 World Cup in Japan coming up in September, there has been much speculation as to what England’s final squad will look like. Injuries have unfortunately plagued stars like Brad Shields, with the forward having suffered a tear in his lower foot in training. As a result, Shields is likely to miss all of England’s warm-up games and potentially a large part of the upcoming tournament. Another likely omission to the England squad is that of Gloucester fly-half Danny Cipriani, despite having a strong season. Cipriani has been trying to break back into the squad in order to compete in his first World Cup.
According to a report from The Guardian, the 31-year-old’s World Cup dreams took another hit after being left out of coach Eddie Jones’ 38-man training squad. The snub comes despite Cipriani being voted the Premiership’s player of the season a mere two months ago due to his role in getting Gloucester to the playoffs.
Cipriani’s omissions have been put down to Jones’ policy of having two specialist fly-halves in Owen Farrell and George Ford, backed by Henry Slade and Piers Francis who both started out as No. 10s. Farrell and Cipriani went up against each other in the playoff semi-final between Gloucester and Saracens with the current England No. 10 coming out on top.
A feature by bwin Rugby on the Premiership Final last season, reports how Gloucester lost heavily to Saracens 44-19. Cipriani wasn’t able to get a foothold in the match and Gloucester were out performed by an experienced Saracens team. While many put a spotlight on how the two fly-halves would match each other, the real threat for Cipriani was Alex Goode.
Alex Goode’s performance puts a dent in Cipriani’s World Cup hopes as he is both a contender for the full back shirt and could easily fit in as fly-half if Farrell or Ford become injured. Goode has shown he has the capacity to be an effective No.10, leading the Saracens backline while Farrell was on international duty in the Six Nations. Cipriani wouldn’t be able to cover two roles as effectively, which is why Jones is likely to opt for having more options in Japan.
Since Jones became England’s coach, Cipriani has only won two caps and it looks like he will miss out on Japan. This is a long way from when he was once seen as the successor to Jonny Wilkinson after replacing him in a 2008 match against Ireland, which was seen at the time as a changing of the guard. Since his remarkable breakthrough Cipriani has had a sporadic England career, which wasn’t helped by his move to Australia, off-field controversies, and lack of international experience. These were key reasons for not being picked for both the 2011 and 2015 World Cup squads
Jones has demonstrated an unwillingness to bring in the Gloucester man in the past, even as a substitute in the Six Nations. With the wealth of options already available to Jones, Cipriani may have to end his career with his World Cup dreams unfulfilled.