Eddie Jones says decision to omit Danny Cipriani from England training-camp squad based on form
By Michael Kelleher
Last Updated: 20/09/18 5:09pm
Eddie Jones insists his decision to omit Danny Cipriani from his squad for England's training camp in Bristol is based purely on form.
The Gloucester fly-half was charged with common assault and resisting arrest in Jersey last month. He was fined £2,000 at Jersey Magistrates' Court and a further £2,000 by his club.
Cipriani avoided a ban despite being found guilty of conduct prejudicial to the game after England rugby chiefs decided not to impose any further sanctions.
Cipriani left out by England
Danny Cipriani left out of England training squad, Chris Ashton and Manu Tuilagi included
Nevertheless, Jones has opted against including him in his 36-man squad for the three-day training camp, which begins on Sunday, but the England head coach insists Cipriani's off-the-field transgressions have not been held against him
When asked if Cipriani's omission was simply a matter of form, Jones replied: "That is the case, 100 per cent.
"We decided to have just two stand-offs in the squad for this particular camp because we wanted them to get a lot of training time.
"Danny is probably third or fourth [choice] and he knows what he has got to work on."
The decision to omit Cipriani came as a surprise to many observers, given his apparent strong start to the season with Gloucester.
The 30-year-old was England's starting fly-half in their most recent game against South Africa in June but Jones says his priorities have shifted as he seeks to prepare his squad for November games against South Africa (November 3), New Zealand (November 10), Japan (November 17) and Australia (November 24) at Twickenham Stadium, which are all live on Sky Sports.
"It is a different circumstance. I am looking at who we need now, what we need for this particular time," Jones explained.
"At the moment we have got Owen (Farrell) and George (Ford), who I believe are our first two fly-halves. Then comes Danny and Danny has got some areas of the game he needs to work on."
Despite his omission, Jones says Cipriani is not completely out of the running for selection for England's squad for the November internationals, which will be named on October 18, challenging him to show improvement in Gloucester's next three games against Saracens (September 23), Harlequins (September 29) and Wasps (October 6).
"He knows what he has got to work on and the opportunity is there for him in the next three games to show that," Jones said.
The England head coach admits Cipriani was "disappointed" with his decision, adding "he is desperate to play for England, which is terrific".
Sale Sharks winger Chris Ashton is included despite being currently banned for a tip tackle in a pre-season friendly against Castres.
The 31-year-old is suspended for the opening six rounds of the Gallagher Premiership and will not be eligible to return until October 9 but Jones is backing Ashton to play a large role for England this season.
"I don't need to justify [Ashton's inclusion]. Selection is a judgement and my judgement is that Ashton is going to be important for us in November," Jones said.
"We have kept close checks on what he is doing training-wise. Sale have been very good in working with us on him."
Leicester Tigers' centre Manu Tuilagi, who last played for England during the 2016 Six Nations, is named in the training squad for the first time in over a year.
Serious groin and knee problems have hampered Tuilagi's progress but the 27-year-old has started all three of Leicester's games this season and capped a fine performance against Newcastle with a try.
"It was great to see him get some game time. We would like to have a look at him in camp to see where he actually is," Jones said.
"Again it presents an opportunity for him to be available for selection in November."