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Page last updated at 15:00 GMT, Monday, 6 October 2008 16:00 UK

Cipriani puts club before country


Danny Cipriani talks to Inside Sport's Gabby Logan

Danny Cipriani admits Jonny Wilkinson's dislocated knee opens the door for his international return but insists he is focused solely on playing for Wasps.

The 20-year-old's recent comeback from a fractured ankle has coincided with the latest injury blow to England fly-half rival Wilkinson.

"It is ironic. I feel dreadfully sorry for him," Cipriani told Inside Sport.

"But I need to think about getting back playing for Wasps - I can't think about England at the minute."

Cipriani burst onto the international stage in impressive fashion after being called up in place of Wilkinson for England's final Six Nations match against Ireland in March.

But he missed the summer tour to New Zealand after suffering an ankle fracture dislocation against Bath in May.

He was expected to return in November but his recovery was smoother than expected and he made his comeback against Bath on 1 October, scoring 11 of his side's 23 points before being substituted on 51 minutes.

There's so much to choose from that if we get it right and get that structure in place England are going to be world beaters again

Danny Cipriani
He missed the EDF Energy Cup defeat at Gloucester on Saturday because of soreness in the ankle but Wasps boss Ian McGeechan said "there is certainly no problem".

Wilkinson, who also missed the New Zealand tour with a shoulder problem, is likely to be out until after Christmas after undergoing surgery on his right knee following an injury in Newcastle's game with Gloucester on 30 September.

England play the Pacific Islanders on 8 November followed by autumn Tests against Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

When Cipriani does return to the international fold he intends to help England re-scale the heights of 2003, when they won the World Cup under the guidance of Sir Clive Woodward.

Now ranked fifth in the world and led by the World Cup-winning captain Martin Johnson, England are hoping to bounce back from the ill-fated tour to New Zealand that ended with two comprehensive defeats.


"I think any English fan undoubtedly knows that England could be up there with the best in the world again because there are two or three players in each position that could take us to being a world-class side again," said Cipriani.

"You've got a ridiculous number of back-row players and a whole heap of others that can take England forward.

"There's so much to choose from that if we get it right and get that structure in place England are going to be world beaters again."

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see also
Des delves Inter Mourinho's Milan
30 Sep 08 |  Inside Sport
Falcons upbeat after Wilkinson op
03 Oct 08 |  Newcastle
Comeback display pleases Cipriani
01 Oct 08 |  London Wasps
Inside Sport returns
24 Sep 08 |  Inside Sport
Inside Sport: how to get involved
30 Apr 07 |  Inside Sport

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