BBC Sport rugbyunion


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 18:01 GMT, Tuesday, 19 May 2009 19:01 UK

England omit Cipriani from squad


Johnson explains Cipriani omission

Wasps fly-half Danny Cipriani has been left out of England's squad for the summer Test series against Argentina.

Leicester's in-form fly-half Sam Vesty is one of six uncapped players called up, with Cipriani selected in the second-string Saxons squad.

There is also a recall for 2003 World Cup-winning hooker Steve Thompson.

England face the Barbarians at Twickenham on 30 May before playing the Pumas home and away, at Old Trafford on 6 June and in Salta a week later.

Martin Johnson's 34-man squad, which will be captained by Steve Borthwick, also sees a return for Lewis Moody after an injury-plagued season.

The uncapped six include Newcastle prop David Wilson and Tom May, who has been playing at fly-half for the Falcons, along with Harlequins duo Chris Robshaw and Jordan Turner-Hall, plus Gloucester prop Nick Wood and Vesty.

Danny Cipriani
Cipriani will be disappointed not to have got the nod

Cipriani, who looks to be down to fifth choice in the pecking order for the number 10 jersey, said he was disappointed not to have made the senior squad having returned to something close to his best for Wasps in the closing stages of the season.

"I'm obviously very disappointed to have to go with the Saxons," Cipriani told the Eurosport website.

It has been a difficult year for the 21-year-old, whose unconvincing form since returning six weeks ahead of schedule from a serious ankle injury meant he did not play in England's Six Nations campaign, with Andy Goode and Flood preferred at fly-half.

Cipriani delayed having an operation to remove a metal pin from his ankle in order to be available for England and the Lions this summer.

"It's not what I wanted, but it is still an England team, and I am still available for the Lions if they need a replacement," he added.


"He (Johnson) said the game time would be good for me. I would probably not have played in Argentina so I would get more game time with the Saxons."

There have also been reports of Cipriani falling out with the England hierarchy, while a spat with London Irish veteran Mike Catt and a training ground bust-up with team-mate Josh Lewsey also made headlines.

And England boss Johnson admitted to having some "frank discussions" with Cipriani in recent weeks.

"We see him as having a bright future in the game but right now we have made the call with the Saxons," said Johnson.

"What you have to deal with in rugby is taking the knockbacks. His club have had a difficult season, he is coming off an injury, he has been picked for England and then left out - but so have any number of players.

"It is just a fact of rugby life and how you deal with those is part of you as a professional rugby player.

"You talk to players all the time about where they are and what they do. I have had good conversations with Danny, very frank conversations.

Vesty boosted by England call-up

"Danny is 21-years-old and he has still got room to develop and improve. There is value in taking him on the Saxons tour. Every time you get together and play with a national team it is a test.

"You are going to be examined and looked at to see how you react and how you play and handle the whole situation. You get a picture of what people are about."

England provided eight players to the Lions, and could lose another in Tom Croft if Irish flanker Alan Quinlan is not successful in his appeal against a 12-week ban.

Johnson's selections were also hampered by injuries to Paul Sackey, Mike Tindall, Jonny Wilkinson, Toby Flood and Tom Palmer.

Former Northampton hooker Thompson, 30, last featured for England when he came off the bench in March 2006 before spending almost a year in retirement after suffering a neck injury.

Steve Thompson
Thompson has rebuilt his playing career at Brive

He then coached at Brive, but in 2007 he was given the all-clear to play again after receiving further medical advice in France and the United States.

Johnson also made it clear that fly-half Wilkinson's impending move to Toulon will not hamper his England chances in the future.

"Jonny in his best form is a very serious England candidate," he said.

"He wants to continue his England career and he has his release dates written into his contract with Toulon so he can do that.

"It is an exciting move for him. I hope he gets back to full form and full fitness."

The 26-man England Saxons squad was also confirmed with the team set to defend their Churchill Cup crown in Denver, Colorado.

The squad features eight capped players including Luke Narraway, Tom Varndell and Cipriani.

England's squad to play the Barbarians and Argentina:

Forwards: S Armitage (London Irish), S Borthwick (Saracens, capt), G Chuter (Leicester), J Crane (Leicester), T Croft (Leicester), L Deacon (Leicester), N Easter (Harlequins), D Hartley (Northampton), J Haskell (Wasps), B Kay (Leicester), N Kennedy (London Irish), L Moody (Leicester), T Payne (Wasps), T Rees (Wasps), C Robshaw (Harlequins), S Thompson (CA Brive), J White (Leicester), D Wilson (Newcastle), N Wood (Gloucester)

Backs: D Armitage (London Irish), D Care (Harlequins), M Cueto (Sale Sharks), B Foden (Northampton), A Goode (CA Brive), J Turner-Hall (Harlequins), D Hipkiss (Leicester), P Hodgson (London Irish), T May (Newcastle), O Morgan (Gloucester), J Noon (Newcastle), D Strettle(Harlequins), M Tait (Sale Sharks), S Vesty (Leicester), R Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks)

England Saxons Churchill Cup squad:

Forwards: D Cole (Leicester), A Corbiserio (London Irish), P Dowson (Newcastle), D Flatman (Bath), T Guest (Harlequins), S Hooper (Bath), C Jones (Sale), T Mercey (Saracens), L Narraway (Gloucester), D Schofield (Sale), P Short (Bath), J Ward (Wasps), R Webber (Wasps), B Woods (Leicester)

Backs: N Abendanon (Bath), M Banahan (Bath), B Barritt (Saracens), N Cato (Saracens), D Cipriani (Wasps), S Geraghty (London Irish), A Goode (Saracens), S Myler (Northampton), J Simpson (Wasps), T Varndell (Leicester), D Waldouck (Wasps), M Young (Newcastle)

Print Sponsor

see also
Jeremy Guscott column
19 May 09 |  English
Cipriani resigned to England snub
17 May 09 |  Rugby Union
Cipriani delays op to remove pin
14 May 09 |  London Wasps
Cipriani eyes injury-free summer
13 May 09 |  London Wasps
Johnson boost for Lions rejects
28 Apr 09 |  English
Cipriani will be back - Edwards
22 Apr 09 |  Rugby Union
Injured Flood out for six months
06 May 09 |  Leicester
Cipriani back in Lions contention
29 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Johnson can bring glory - Cueto
15 Apr 09 |  Rugby Union
England must be fitter - Johnson
22 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Cipriani signs new Wasps contract
06 Mar 09 |  London Wasps
Cipriani floored in training row
08 Oct 08 |  London Wasps
Cipriani accepts blame for defeat
22 Nov 08 |  English
Cipriani returns to England squad
21 Oct 08 |  English

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites