Cipriani replaces George Ford and his selection – one of four changes from the second test loss – marks a significant shift in Jones’s tactical thinking as he believed the Ford/Owen Farrell combination at 10 and 12 was the way to take England into next year’s World Cup in Japan, but a series loss to South Africa and a storm of criticism has allowed Cipriani to return.
Cipriani’s style of play means there is always the possibility he will try too hard and give the opposition interception opportunities. With real pressure to bring something different to the tactical table and the series lost, Jones is ready to gamble on the Gloucester bound No10 who will be targeted by the Bok defence.
Eddie Jones said: “We’ve had a really upbeat training week. We are up for the battle and are going to rip in on Saturday. We want another committed performance where it will be crucial to maintain our composure when the heat is on.
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“We are expecting a wet and windy old day at Newlands and have elected to play Danny Cipriani ahead of George Ford to give us a left-foot kicking option. We will need to jump out of the blocks quickly again and make sure we maintain that pressure and make good decisions.
“I’ve been really impressed with the fortitude of the squad under Owen Farrell, who is a young captain, and with a number of young players who have really stuck to the task.”
The other changes were forced on Jones with Billy Vunipola suffering another break to his right forearm in the second test while brother Mako flew home for the birth of his son. Nathan Hughes, the Wasps No8, starting in place of Billy while combative Harlequins loose head prop Joe Marler gets the chance to start rather than coming off the bench while there is a recall for Chris Robshaw as Brad Shields is ill.
Wasps captain Joe Launchbury is backing former teammate Cipriani to make a big impression against the Boks on Saturday. He said: “Danny’s biggest improvement this year is probably the leadership side of things.
“It’s pretty obvious for people to see ball-in-hand what he has talent wise, through space, delaying his pass to hitting the right option at the line, but what has impressed me most is his game-management, leadership and trying to make the players around him better.”
Having talked a good game in South Africa, former captain Jason Robinson wants to see England finally put those words into action in Cape Town and told RugbyPass: “We want to see a backlash with the players, instead of just talking about what they are going to do, getting out there and delivering.
“When you start losing then as a group of players you need to be so tight because everyone is looking to pin the blame on somebody and even the England fans are abusing the players.”
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