Eddie Jones tells Danny Cipriani to prove he deserves England start
By Tony Tighe
Last Updated: 10/05/18 10:59am
Eddie Jones challenged Danny Cipriani to prove he is worthy of a starting place with England after ending his international exile.
England head coach Jones named Cipriani his 34-man squad for next month's three-Test tour of South Africa, with all games live on Sky Sports Action.
The in-form fly-half, who leaves Wasps at the end of the season, has not played for England since August 2015.
"I've watched him play closely and think he deserves an opportunity," said Jones.
"He's done some things I've asked him to do in games and I'm happy to give him an opportunity.
"He's got to prove he's the best 10 in the squad, or the best 15. Could he be that? We wouldn't have picked him if we didn't think so."
Jones has selected seven uncapped players in his squad, including Hurricanes captain Brad Shields after New Zealand Rugby agreed to release him.
"He plays for the best team in the southern hemisphere and is a considerable influence," said Jones.
"He's a hard-working, gritty player and is a great back-up to Chris Robshaw for us."
Shields joins Wasps at the end of the Super Rugby season but his selection has been viewed by some as controversial given he is still playing his club rugby outside England.
"My responsibility is to pick England-qualified players," said Jones. "I get a list of qualified players and pick the best. I don't decide the regulations."
Shields' selection bolsters a squad that is missing a host of first-teamers. A number of players are sidelined through injury while Jones decided to rest the likes of Danny Care, Dan Cole and James Haskell.
"Given the number of players out, whether through injury or deciding to rest them, we've got about 20 players that we haven't considered for selection," said Jones.
"When you take 20 out of your top 45 it creates some holes. It's about finding the players who have the potential to better than the 20 who aren't going.
"Why rest so many? We feel this is the appropriate time to do it. The priority has always been to win the World Cup. We've stated that very clearly.
"Each tour and tournament we play, we take seriously though. Our targets are always the same.
"It's about getting the balance right and leading up to the World Cup, post Lions tour, it's the right time to do that."
Jones has brought Scott Wisemantel on board as an attack consultant for the Springboks series. The 48-year-old Australian was recently backs coach for Top 14 club Montpellier working with Jake White.
"He coached with me at the Wallabies and Japan, he has done Super Rugby with the Waratahs, and coached successfully in Europe with Lyon and Montpellier," said Jones.
"He has a wealth of experience, great energy and I think he will just add a little bit for this tour.
"Could he be a permanent appointment? Not at this stage, it's just for the tour. But we'll wait and see."