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Jones explains Cipriani omission


Jones explains why he's left out Cipriani

Eddie Jones has defended the decision to leave Danny Cipriani out of his 36-man England training squad which will gather in Bristol at the end of the month.

Asked whether it was a form-based decision Jones said: “One hundred per cent. We’ve decided to pick just two fly-halves for this camp. Danny is probably third or fourth and he knows what he has to work on. He understands that.

“We’ve got Owen and George who I believe are our first choice fly-halves. Danny is disappointed but he understands what he has to do. He is desperate to play for England which is terrific.”

Jones insists that the Gloucester outhalf still remains in contention for the Rugby World Cup.

“He has a great chance. “He has as much opportunity as any players in the squad and outside the squad.”

Cipriani was involved in a high-profile incident in Jersey while on tour with Gloucester during pre-season, pleading guilty to assault and having to pay a fine of £2,000.

He then faced an RFU Independent Disciplinary Committee in late August over the matter, where he was warned over his conduct but received no sanction.

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It appeared that Jones was willing to move on from the incident, stating 15 days ago:“Danny has been dealt with and was punished by his club and the RFU dealt with it and he is back playing. We will look at how he is going.

“Has he got an England future? That will be determined by how well he plays and we never close the door on anyone and everyone makes mistakes and he was very contrite afterwards and realised he has done the wrong thing and we move on from that now.”

But despite his impressive Premiership form this season it appears Cipriani will remain on the margins. Cipriani made his first start of England in almost ten years while on the June tour to South Africa.

There has been surprise online to Jones’ decision. Ellis Lane tweeted “Danny Cipriani has been man of the match twice in three games this season for Gloucester. But Eddie Jones says his omission has been based on form.

Alex Shaw of RugbyPass said “Gloucester sign Danny Cipriani, who tears up in the last England match, pulls strings like Geppetto in the Premiership and adds an unrivalled passing game on the gain-line, but they still can’t get an England call up. Kingsholm curse.”

But others have called for calm.

Chris Ashton who is yet to play a Premiership game this season due to a 7-week ban for a dangerous tackle in a pre-season game against Castres remains in the squad. The former Toulon man has not played for England since 2014.

Manu Tuilagi was recalled to the training squad on Thursday, he hasn’t been in an England shirt since the 2016 Six Nations.

“It’s the first time in the three years I’ve been in England that Manu’s been fit”, Jones told the RFU website.

“He’s put together a series of games and we’re looking forward to him continuing on that run. He’s got the opportunity to come in and show us what he’s got.”

In other news: Wallabies and Reds centre Samu Kerevi speaks about new deal

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Jones explains why he's left out Cipriani