England assistant John Mitchell has refused to admit that Danny Cirpaini’s World Cup selection hopes are dead in the water.
The maverick Gloucester out-half was omitted from England’s current 12-day warm-weather camp in Treviso on the back of missing a previous camp.
Those setbacks appeared to spell the end of Cipriani making it into the 31-strong squad that will be named on August 12 for the finals in Japan.
Mitchell admitted selection – both for the finals and the last-chance August 11 warm-up against Wales prior to the squad’s announcement – was not his department when quizzed on the subject during a Tuesday afternoon media conference call from Treviso.
But he hinted players inside and outside the squad must keep on preparing as they never know when they might be needed.
Eddie Jones excludes Premiership player of the year from England warm weather camp https://t.co/F8hxqDYOpq
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 22, 2019
“Eddie will make a decision on the squad when we get back to England. Nothing changes there,” said the defence coach from England’s base in Italy where it is hoped their training in humid conditions can help them acclimatise for the sticky conditions expected at the finals.
“It’s not for me to talk about selection – that’s Eddie’s call but we’re going to need everyone. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in now or you’re out preparing – the thing is that you need to be ready. Danny is no different. Nor is Ben (Moon).
“He [Cipriani] has been in for two weeks. Him and Ben are both very good players. We have got excellent players inside and excellent players outside.
Danny Cipriani omitted from England squad for Treviso training camp with no explanation from Eddie Jones.
Since being named in official RWC training squad, Cipriani will have been in camp for just one week out of a possible four.
— Alex Lowe (@AlexMLowe) July 22, 2019
“There have been players inside this group at the moment who have been out as well. Everyone has to be ready and Ben and Danny are no different,” added Mitchell, who did let slip that the clash with Wales wouldn’t impact massively on their overall thinking about the squad.
“One game doesn’t determine selection. We have seen enough of these people over a long period of time. One game is not going to determine their Rugby World Cup future.
“It is part of the plan and there will definitely be a strategy around that particular Test match. It just happens to be near a milestone where there will be a naming.
? RISING SONS: Episode 4
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) July 30, 2019
“Ultimately it’s just one match of four that are all geared towards our key focus of preparing for Tonga, USA, Argentina and France.”
England are carrying a number of injuries, the latest being the foot problem that will sideline back row Brad Shields for a period of up to six weeks. He joins Mako Vunipola, George Kruis and Jack Nowell on a comeback trail where no public deadline has been set for them to be fully fit.
“Brad was in training running around. We had just completed the warm-up and then we were into some attacking and defensive activities.
The clock is now ticking on the Rugby World Cup fitness of England's Brad Shields.https://t.co/wKtwJJi22u
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 30, 2019
“If you have had a tear under the base of your foot it becomes very noticeable. He’s generally a great player in the way he endures pain, but on this particular occasion it became a little too acute and he was sensible enough to pull up and go and get it checked.
“That [fitness deadlines] is Eddie’s area. That’s something he will address at that particular time. There’s flexibility around that time. I’m sure he will be aware of it. Everyone is working towards that one milestone, but there’s still a lot of time between then and the World Cup and that is why we are preparing everyone.
“Already, if you look at our situation here, we have really good players in and we have some really good players out. If you look at the history of recent World Cups some positions have gone four or five deep on some occasions.
“Everyone just has to be ready regardless of what position they are in. While the deadline is important from a logistical point of view and I guess from a commercial point of view, ultimately everyone has to be ready because it is a long way between then and finishing the World Cup.”
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