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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 March 2008, 06:36 GMT
Cipriani warms to full-back role
Danny Cipriani
I want to become the best in the world at what I do, but I am a long way off yet

Danny Cipriani

Date: Saturday, 8 March
Kick-off: 1515 GMT
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh
BBC Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBCi, Radio 5 Live and BBC Sport website (video UK users only)

Wasps fly-half Danny Cipriani says he can handle the pressure of playing at full-back for England against Scotland in Saturday's Six Nations game.

The 20-year-old starts in place of Iain Balshaw, who drops to the bench.

"Although looking forward to it, I'm not going to get bogged down or get too worried or excited," he told BBC Sport.

"I don't want to lose track of what's going to happen this weekend. We need to go to Murrayfield and win away which won't be easy."

Cipriani will become England's ninth full-back in 14 months since Brian Ashton replaced Andy Robinson as head coach, following in the footsteps of Jason Robinson, Josh Lewsey, Olly Morgan, Mike Brown, Mark Cueto, Nick Abendanon, Mathew Tait and Balshaw.

He has set his sights on the fly-half jersey in the future - the position he normally occupies with Wasps - but already has the experience of playing at full-back in last season's Heineken Cup final, when he helped Wasps land their second European title.


Cipriani, who could have played soccer for Reading as a 14-year-old YTS recruit, has benefited during his fledgling rugby career from working with sprint coach Margot Wells, plus the current Wasps coaching duo of Ian McGeechan and Shaun Edwards.

He made his international debut during England's 26-19 opening Six Nations defeat to Wales at Twickenham, when he replaced the injured Mike Tindall in the centres during the second half.

"Full-back is where I first started my trade at Wasps, and Christian Cullen has always been my idol," he said.

"I'd have played in the back row if I'd been asked to. I just want to get onto the field and now I've got that chance I want to make a good impression.

"I love running with the ball, and Brian (Ashton) doesn't want anyone to go within themselves. I am really looking to having a go and making sure England keep moving forward.

"I am quite an impatient person. I don't want to rest on my laurels, because if I do, then it is the day I retire.

England hooker Lee Mears
Lee Mears has only made three previous starts in his 21 Tests

"I want to become the best in the world at what I do, but I am a long way off yet."

Bath hooker Lee Mears is preferred to Bristol veteran Mark Regan, who misses out on the match-day 22 completely, with Leicester forward George Chuter on the bench.

Mears is rewarded for outstanding post-World Cup form during Bath's push towards the top of the Guinness Premiership.

He said: "Mark has spoken to me and congratulated me. He is a tough competitor, and I know he won't lie down.

"I have learnt a lot from him over the years, and the competitor in him is something I would like to have in my game.

"We let ourselves down against Wales and hopefully we can show this weekend that we are getting better with each game.

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04 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
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02 Mar 08 |  English
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03 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
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27 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union
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22 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union


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