England rugby news: Chris Ashton ruled out of final Autumn International against Australia with calf injury

20 Nov

Chris Ashton’s international comeback has stalled after the England wing was ruled out of Saturday’s climax to the autumn series against Australia by a calf problem.

Ashton will be limited to three appearances this month due to the injury sustained in the 35-15 victory over Japan at Twickenham, a scan confirming that he will be sidelined for a fortnight.

The 31-year-old sent for a scan on the injury and was forced to miss training on Tuesday morning.

Ashton became available for England once more when he left Toulon for Sale over the summer and Eddie Jones immediately selected him in his squad for the Quilter Internationals.

When Manu Tuilagi was ruled out of the opener against South Africa because of a groin strain, he was cleared to win his 40th cap and first in over four years.

“Chris Ashton was hurt in the game on Saturday,” forwards coach Steve Borthwick said.

“He’s been scanned and investigated and unfortunately the injury means he will be out for a couple of weeks. He’ll leave camp today (Tuesday).

“Chris is a fantastic player who knows his way to the try-line. He’s been great around the squad the last few weeks. It’s very disappointing he’s out.”

Ashton fell out of favour under Stuart Lancaster and then Jones, whose opportunities to pick the dual code international were restricted by a succession of bans.

Ashton scored a try in England’s slim 16-15 defeat to New Zealand

He made only one appearance for Sale this season due to a seven-week suspension incurred for a tip-tackle before being picked by England.

Jonny May and Jack Nowell are set to be restored to the wings for the first time since the series opener against South Africa, but Bath powerhouse Joe Cokanasiga is a fringe contender to start.

Cokanasiga produced a promising debut against Japan, using his 6’4” and 18 stones frame to good effect to score the decisive try and make a number of dents on the Brave Blossoms line.

However, having just turned 21-years-old the Wallabies might be deemed too big a hurdle to face.

“Joe did really well. He’s got massive potential and is really eager to learn and hungry to learn,” Borthwick said.

“Physically he’s got some great attributes and attitude wise he wants to be the best he can be. He’s a young guy who has a lot of potential.”

Tuilagi is unlikely to be involved on Saturday as he continues his battle for full fitness, but the Leicester centre remains with the squad and has yet to be officially ruled out against Australia.

“Manu trained very hard this morning (Tuesday) and has another session today. He’s working really hard to get as fit as possible, so we’ll keep assessing him,” Borthwick said.

Eddie Jones EXCLUSIVE: England boss explains why Danny Cipriani didn’t make squad for autumn internationals

18 Oct

England head coach Eddie Jones has told talkSPORT he left Danny Cipriani out of his autumn international squad because there are ‘areas of the game he needs to work on’.

The Red Rose boss announced his 32-man group for Tests against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia on Thursday.

England boss Eddie Jones named his 32-man autumn international squad at Twickenham

Cipriani has enjoyed a strong start to the new season with Gloucester, being named the Premiership Player of the Month for September, but he did not make Jones’ squad.

It’s a big blow to the 30-year-old playmaker’s hopes of making England’s World Cup team, as Jones begins to make his preparations for the tournament in Japan next year.

England's autumn internationals

  • v South Africa – 3/11/18
  • v New Zealand – 10/11/18
  • v Japan – 17/11/18
  • v Australia – 24/11/18

Cipriani’s omission has already made plenty of headlines on Thursday morning, and Jones joined talkSPORT following his squad announcement to explain why the fly-half had been overlooked.

Speaking to talkSPORT’s Russell Hargreaves at Twickenham, the Australian said: “We’ve gone with two fly-halves.

“We think Owen [Farrell] and George [Ford] are the two best fly-halves and they’ve been consistently in the team since I came in 2016.

“We think they are the two guys to lead England forward.

Cipriani started in England’s last outing against South Africa in Cape Town

“Danny is the third choice, and there are some areas of the game we think he needs to work on.

“He understands that and now it’s up to him.”

Listen to talkSPORT’s interview with England head coach Eddie Jones IN FULL above!

Rugby news: Injuries are Danny Cipriani’s only way back into the England squad, says Lawrence Dallaglio on talkSPORT

18 Oct

Danny Cipriani’s only route back into the England squad is if either Owen Farrell or George Ford get injured, says Lawrence Dallaglio.

The 2003 World Cup winner joined talkSPORT to offer his verdict on Thursday’s squad announcement for next month’s Autumn internationals.

Boss Eddie Jones has named his 36-man group for the Tests against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia, and Cipriani has been left out once again.

The 30-year-old playmaker has enjoyed a strong start to the season for Gloucester, picking up the Premiership Player of the Month award for September.

But he has not done enough to dislodge the first-choice duo.

Jones admitted on Thursday the decision was ‘tough’ on the Gloucester man, saying he’s currently third choice despite his club rugby form.

Eddie Jones named his 32-man England squad on Thursday

And Dallaglio admits only an injury blow to Jones’ squad would present Cipriani with another chance of staking his claim for a World Cup place.

“There’s no Danny Cipriani, but I don’t think that’s a surprise,” said the World Cup winner on Thursday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.

“Eddie Jones has made it clear that he sees Owen Farrell and George Ford as his number one and number two.

“Unless one of those guys gets injured, it looks pretty clear Danny will have to just wait for his time.”

Listen to Lawrence Dallaglio’s verdict on the England squad IN FULL above!

Eddie Jones leaves Danny Cipriani out of England rugby squad for autumn Tests, but Ben Morgan earns recall

18 Oct

Eddie Jones has left Danny Cipriani out of his England squad for the upcoming autumn internationals.

The 30-year-old has enjoyed an impressive start to the season for new club side Gloucester, picking up the Gallagher Premiership Player of the Month for September.

However, he has not done enough to make the 36-man group for the Tests against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia.

In August, he was arrested for an incident at a nightclub in Jersey and plead guilty to assault on a bouncer. He was fined by his club, but cleared by the RFU last month to play for his country having made the squad for the Test series against South Africa in the summer.

Owen Farrell and George Ford are present as the recognised fly-halves, although Henry Slade and Alex Lozowski provide cover in the position.

“We have got two good 10s,” said Jones. “It is tough on Danny but he is third choice at the moment.”

For the first time in Jones’ reign, Dylan Hartley must share the leadership duties with Farrell after the pair were named co-captains.

England's Autumn Internationals

  • v South Africa – 3/11/18
  • v New Zealand – 10/11/18
  • v Japan – 17/11/18
  • v Australia – 24/11/18

Ben Morgan has been picked for the first time since the 2015 World Cup as a result of the crisis at number eight which has seen Billy Vunipola and Sam Simmonds ruled out of the entire series by injury and Nathan Hughes miss all but the final match due to suspension.

Wing Chris Ashton is present despite having yet to make his debut for Sale with his seven-week ban for a tip-tackle elapsing this weekend.

Ben Morgan and Chris Ashton are back in the England squad however

Manu Tuilagi has overcome a succession of injuries to win inclusion and he will be competing with Ben Te’o – who has not played this season because of thigh and ankle problems – for selection in midfield.

England’s loosehead prop resources have been decimated by Mako Vunipola’s absence due to a calf issue and the international retirement of Joe Marler, leaving Alex Hepburn and Ben Moon as the only recognised options in the position.

The squad contains eight uncapped players and confirms the decline of veterans Dan Cole and James Haskell, who have been omitted once more.

Jones’ outlook on a punishing series that opens against the Springboks at Twickenham on November 3 remains positive despite missing 18 players to injury, suspension and retirement.

He said: “I’m really happy with the squad. We can only control what we can control and injuries have happened.

“It gives an opportunity for some good new players to play some important Tests for England while players who have been in the squad before, will have to take on more responsibility.”

The final autumn series before the 2019 World Cup is opened by the Springboks’ visit to Twickenham on November 3.

“South Africa have been going really well. They have a new coach and have selected well,” said Jones, whose England team fell to a 2-1 series defeat to Rassie Erasmus’ men in June.

“They play a traditional Springbok game up front and move the ball wide when they need to. We’ll need to take them on up front and when we have opportunities to score points we have to be good enough to take them.”