Cipriani expected to stay at Sale

Published: Wednesday 18th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Danny Cipriani is expected to snub Toulon and complete a new deal at Sale as he bids to secure selection for England’s World Cup bid.

The 27-year-old fly-half had seriously considered a big-money offer to join French and European champions Toulon, but is understood to be finalising a new contract with Sale.

Cipriani made a try-scoring cameo in his first Twickenham Test match for seven years on Saturday, as England overwhelmed Italy 47-17.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster has brought the former Wasps star back into the England fold after injuries, battles with form and rows with former boss Martin Johnson led to a prolonged exile.

And it is that reintegration from England’s fuss-free chief Lancaster that has strengthened Cipriani’s resolve to turn down a lucrative move to France’s Top 14.

Cipriani ended a six-year wait for international rugby in last summer’s three-Test tour to New Zealand, drafted in by Lancaster with a host of stars missing the first All Blacks clash due to the Aviva Premiership final.

England boss Lancaster then took the slightly unusual step of including four fly-halves in his wider Six Nations training squad, handing Cipriani another chance to press his claims.

Owen Farrell’s knee injury opened the door, and Cipriani waltzed back onto the Twickenham stage against the Azzurri on Saturday as though he had never been away.

Cipriani vowed never to let his England career slip away again in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s Italy win, dropping the first hint of his intention to stay at Sale.

“I was in a fantastic Wasps side and things happened a certain way, so when I came into the England side under Martin Johnson I had to adapt to a different system,” said Cipriani.

“I just thought it would have gone the same way as it did at Wasps, but it didn’t.

“I had to be a different person in those situations and learn from it. I probably took it for granted a little bit.

“At the time I didn’t say I took it for granted but you don’t really appreciate the moments as they come along.

“That’s what I’m doing now: every moment and every experience I am appreciating and there’s no way I want to be out of this England side ever again, for as long as I’m playing.”

Cipriani’s first Six Nations appearance since 2008 now seems to have cemented the talented playmaker’s decision to stay in the UK.

England continue to prize their policy of only selecting overseas-based stars in exceptional circumstances: Cipriani would have effectively ended his World Cup chances by moving to France.

Instead he should remain on call for Lancaster’s squad, in a development that will prove a huge boost to the England coach.

Lancaster is expected to take four fly-halves into his pre-World Cup training camp, which should hand Cipriani an extended chance to prove his worth.

Published: Wednesday 18th February 2015 by The News Editor

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