Jonny May and Joe Launchbury heap praise on Danny Cipriani as Eddie Jones names preliminary England World Cup training squad

29 Jun

Danny Cipriani has been called up to attend England’s preliminary World Cup training camp ahead of the tournament in Japan.

Gloucester fly-half Cipriani was named Premiership and Rugby Players’ Association player of the year last season following his move to Kingsholm.

Danny Cipriani and Jonny May celebrate during the South Africa Tour last summer
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But England coach Eddie Jones has included the 31-year-old in just two squads since he took charge in 2016, and the playmaker has only won two caps – both against South Africa last June.

Jonny May was one of the stars of that tour, with his try in the Third Test after Cipriani’s sensational cross-field kick a real highlight-reel moment.

The Leicester Tigers winger spoke to talkSPORT ahead of the squad announcement and heaped praise on the former Wasps back for his incredible season.

“He’s a great player and obviously we are not sure on who is coming in yet, or even what the squad is,” he said.

Cipriani’s cross-field kick to May last summer was the type of moment of magic the Gloucester fly-half has become renowned for
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“But he has had a brilliant season at Gloucester and the quality of players we’ve got at ten, anyone who comes in is going to do a brilliant job.”

One member of the current England squad who knows Cipriani particularly well is Joe Launchbury, with the duo lining up alongside one another for Wasps.

In the game at Gloucester towards the end of the Premiership season, Cipriani was it his magisterial best against Wasps for the Cherry and Whites.

And Launchbury is well aware of the attacking prowess the fly-half would be able to offer in a crucial World Cup game.

Cipriani has earned an England recall after his superb Premiership performances
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He said: “Obviously I’ve watched bits of Gloucester play, but not watched it as much as I watched it the year before.

“Danny has got some big strengths, he’s got a lot to offer in that side of the game, so I’m pleased the way he has gone down to Gloucester and made them play well.

“Unfortunately, like you really, it is only an opinion and not something we can control, so I think we are very lucky within this squad.

“I think you saw some of the guys who missed out; you see the strength of the squad who have been here this week and the strength of the guys who aren’t here yet through commitments in the Premiership final.

“I think you see the strength we’ve got and we’re in a pretty fortunate place at the moment to have that strength and depth for sure.”

England World Cup squad: Danny Cipriani included in 31-man training camp but Kyle Sinckler sent back to Harlequins

28 Jun

Danny Cipriani has worked his way back into World Cup contention after being named in Eddie Jones’ preliminary England training squad.

However, Harlequins duo Kyle Sinckler and Marcus Smith have been sent back home.

Danny Cipriani has earned an England recall after his superb Premiership performances
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The Gloucester fly-half enjoyed a fantastic season and was named as the Premiership Player of the Year as he led the Cherry and Whites to the semi-finals.

England men’s head coach Jones has announced a squad of 31 players to attend England’s second training camp at The Lensbury Hotel (30 June-4 July).

Cipriani is joined in the squad by Piers Francis (Northampton Saints), Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) and Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby).

Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs) will join George Kruis (Saracens) and Mako Vunipola (Saracens) in camp to continue their rehabilitation.

Kyle Sinckler is not included in the England training squad
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Jones said: “It has been a really positive week, we have worked on our fundamentals of the game, a little bit of physical conditioning and I am really pleased with the attitude of the players. They have all come back from their leave in excellent condition and the best I have seen in the time I have been with England.

“Next week we will add some players and be looking to improve our physical conditioning, ability to understand how we want to play the game and start to increase the pressure at training. We have a couple of players going back to their clubs as we feel it is in their best interests in terms of the World Cup to do that, and we will consider their participation in the squad further down the track.”

England’s official Rugby World Cup training squad will be announced by Jones at Japan House on Thursday 4 July.

England will play Wales (11 August) and Ireland (24 August) at Twickenham Stadium and Italy (6 September) in Newcastle as part of the Quilter Internationals as well as an away fixture against Wales (17 August) in Cardiff.

Eddie Jones has included the Premiership semi-finalists into his training squad
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England will travel to Treviso, Italy for a heat camp from 22 July until 2 August before returning to Italy on 28 August until 5 September. The squad will also be based in Bristol for a week in July (14-18) and in August (12-16) ahead of England’s away match against Wales. For the two matches against Wales and Ireland at Twickenham Stadium, the squad will train at Pennyhill Park.

England training squad 

Forwards

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks)
Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins)
Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)

Joe Launchbury will be looking to bring his usual drive and determination to the England team
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Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints)
Val Rapava Ruskin (Gloucester Rugby)
Nick Schonert (Worcester Warriors)
Brad Shields (Wasps)
Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby)
Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)

Mark Wilson enjoyed an incredible 2018/19 season on the international stage
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Backs

Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Danny Cipriani (Gloucester Rugby)
Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby)
Elliot Daly (Wasps)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers)
Piers Francis (Northampton Saints)

George Ford had a difficult campaign with Leicester Tigers
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Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)
Jonny May (Leicester Tigers)
Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby)
Dan Robson (Wasps)
Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors)
Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby)

Jack Nowell is recovering from an injury sustained in the Premiership final
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Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

 

*In for medical treatment
George Kruis (Saracens)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)

Gallagher Premiership Review: Saracens and Gloucester maintain play-off charges as Worcester edge relegation battle with Bristol

23 Mar

It was another busy and frantic day in the Gallagher Premiership on Saturday, with the stars of the Guinness Six Nations returning to club action.

There as a London derby at West Ham’s London stadium as champions Saracens took on Harlequins.

There was a nail-biting finale during Worcester’s trip to Bristol

Gloucester looked to maintain their push for a play-off place as they welcomed Wasps to Kingsholm.

And Bristol welcomed Worcester in what was a relegation battle with a nail-biting finish.

Scroll down to see a comprehensive review of all the action.

SARACENS 27-20 HARLEQUINS

Skleton was unplayable at West Ham’s London Stadium

Will Skelton took centre stage at the London Stadium by rescuing Saracens with two unstoppable short-range tries in a 27-20 Gallagher Premiership victory over Harlequins.

The champions fought back from a 17-6 interval deficit through touchdowns by Schalk Burger and Skelton to breathe life into a capital derby that had served up a dismal first half in front of a 42,717 crowd.

Quins were able to capitalise on the repeated mistakes made by Saracens to seize control when half-backs Marcus Smith and Danny Care crossed.

But the match was turned on its head from the moment the second half began and the fightback was done the hard way after Billy Vunipola and David Strettle had tries disallowed.

On both occasions JP Doyle’s decision-making was disputed by Saracens, who claimed that the referee should have allowed the scores to stand. The second ended with Care and Liam Williams being sent to the sin-bin for a lengthy scuffle.

But the home pack had woken up and it was another muscular short-range drive by Skelton, the outstanding Australia lock who was also named man of the match, which ultimately subdued Harlequins.

GLOUCESTER 27-14 WASPS

Jake Polledri goes over for Gloucester

Gloucester maintained their push for a Gallagher Premiership play-off place after beating Wasps 27-14 at Kingsholm.

First-half tries by captain Willi Heinz and flanker Ruan Ackermann put Wasps on the back foot, while centre Billy Twelvetrees kicked two conversions and a penalty.

Wasps have won just two of their last 14 games in all competitions, and their play-off hopes effectively evaporated despite a promising start that saw them lead through wing Marcus Watson’s try and two Rob Miller penalties.

Miller booted a third penalty 17 minutes from time, and Wasps’ England back Elliot Daly sent a long-range kick well wide as Gloucester had to dig deep.

But a late Twelvetrees penalty and Jake Polledri touchdown that Twelvetrees converted ensured victory.

BRISTOL 25-27 WORCESTER

Worcester celebrated their narrow victory

Worcester completed the double with a nail-biting 27-25 win over Bristol to boost their hopes of avoiding relegation from the Gallagher Premiership.

Warriors won 52-7 at Sixways back in October but they had to work much harder for this success and by overcoming a number of setbacks and two yellow cards to pick up a crucial win.

Ted Hill, Josh Adams and Ben Te’o scored their tries with Duncan Weir converting all three and adding two penalties.

Luke Morahan and Callum Sheedy scored tries for Bristol. There was also a penalty try award with Sheedy kicking two penalties and a conversion.

Gallagher Premiership Review: Saracens and Gloucester maintain play-off charges as Worcester edge relegation battle with Bristol

23 Mar

It was another busy and frantic day in the Gallagher Premiership on Saturday, with the stars of the Guinness Six Nations returning to club action.

There as a London derby at West Ham’s London stadium as champions Saracens took on Harlequins.

There was a nail-biting finale during Worcester’s trip to Bristol

Gloucester looked to maintain their push for a play-off place as they welcomed Wasps to Kingsholm.

And Bristol welcomed Worcester in what was a relegation battle with a nail-biting finish.

Scroll down to see a comprehensive review of all the action.

SARACENS 27-20 HARLEQUINS

Skleton was unplayable at West Ham’s London Stadium

Will Skelton took centre stage at the London Stadium by rescuing Saracens with two unstoppable short-range tries in a 27-20 Gallagher Premiership victory over Harlequins.

The champions fought back from a 17-6 interval deficit through touchdowns by Schalk Burger and Skelton to breathe life into a capital derby that had served up a dismal first half in front of a 42,717 crowd.

Quins were able to capitalise on the repeated mistakes made by Saracens to seize control when half-backs Marcus Smith and Danny Care crossed.

But the match was turned on its head from the moment the second half began and the fightback was done the hard way after Billy Vunipola and David Strettle had tries disallowed.

On both occasions JP Doyle’s decision-making was disputed by Saracens, who claimed that the referee should have allowed the scores to stand. The second ended with Care and Liam Williams being sent to the sin-bin for a lengthy scuffle.

But the home pack had woken up and it was another muscular short-range drive by Skelton, the outstanding Australia lock who was also named man of the match, which ultimately subdued Harlequins.

GLOUCESTER 27-14 WASPS

Jake Polledri goes over for Gloucester

Gloucester maintained their push for a Gallagher Premiership play-off place after beating Wasps 27-14 at Kingsholm.

First-half tries by captain Willi Heinz and flanker Ruan Ackermann put Wasps on the back foot, while centre Billy Twelvetrees kicked two conversions and a penalty.

Wasps have won just two of their last 14 games in all competitions, and their play-off hopes effectively evaporated despite a promising start that saw them lead through wing Marcus Watson’s try and two Rob Miller penalties.

Miller booted a third penalty 17 minutes from time, and Wasps’ England back Elliot Daly sent a long-range kick well wide as Gloucester had to dig deep.

But a late Twelvetrees penalty and Jake Polledri touchdown that Twelvetrees converted ensured victory.

BRISTOL 25-27 WORCESTER

Worcester celebrated their narrow victory

Worcester completed the double with a nail-biting 27-25 win over Bristol to boost their hopes of avoiding relegation from the Gallagher Premiership.

Warriors won 52-7 at Sixways back in October but they had to work much harder for this success and by overcoming a number of setbacks and two yellow cards to pick up a crucial win.

Ted Hill, Josh Adams and Ben Te’o scored their tries with Duncan Weir converting all three and adding two penalties.

Luke Morahan and Callum Sheedy scored tries for Bristol. There was also a penalty try award with Sheedy kicking two penalties and a conversion.

Danny Cipriani should be England captain for World Cup in Japan, according to talkSPORT host Adrian Durham

20 Mar

Adrian Durham has passionately explained why Danny Cipriani HAS to be made England captain for the World Cup in Japan.

After a sensational start to the Six Nations in Dublin, Eddie Jones’ men rather flattered to deceive.

Despite thrashing France at Twickenham, England then lost to Wales away and missed out on the chance to win the Grand Slam before the tournament in Japan.

Cipriani moved to Gloucester in the summer to help his England chances

Against Scotland in their final game, captain Owen Farrell appeared to suffer a mental lapse as he made a series of fatal errors before Jones hauled the fly-half off.

With the Australian admitting he needs to bring in a sports psychologist to erase the scars from the 2015 World Cup where England capitulated.

The former Saracens coach has famously refused to call up a number of talented backs for England such as Alex Goode of Saracens.

But it is Gloucester new boy Cipriani’s continued omission which has irked Durham, who now feels the 31-year-old must lead his country on the biggest stage.

Owen Farrell is more restrained these days, but is capable of imploding like he did against Scotland

“The key point for me is that Danny Cipriani has to play; he’s been brilliant in case you don’t know,” Durham said on Wednesday.

“He doesn’t just have to play, he has to be the captain of the England rugby team and I am going to tell you why.

“It’s not just that he is a brilliant player, it’s that he is so much more than that. He is an inspiration.

“When you look at his life and the way he conducts himself – there have been little bumps in the road along the way, we all have those.

Cipriani burst onto the international scene in 2008 at Wasps

“But he has recovered from those. He has responded in the right way to those. He is an inspiration, he is a role model and he’s got a social conscience.

“If you look at the things he says, he has a column now and the things he Tweets as well, this is a guy who really cares about the world around him and that’s the kind of guy I want to be captain of my team, the captain of my country.

“He doesn’t just say all the right things and bland statements and stuff that interests nobody whatsoever. He actually has a social conscience. He cares and he uses his position wisely.

“So I would say he has shown commitment to his country as well by not just instantly going over to France and taking the money – he could have had a far more lucrative contract over there than he does in the Premiership.

The 31-year-old was on the books at QPR and controls games like a footballer with his cultured left-foot

“Because he wanted to play for his country and Eddie Jones has completely ignored him as he has a history of doing – ignoring the best players in club rugby.

“So for me, it is a no-brainer. There is no captain for England at the moment – as brilliant as Owen Farrell is – he’s’ no Alun Wyn Jones.

“You’re going to be hard-pressed to find an Alun Wyn Jones. But for me, Cipriani should be England captain.”

European Champions Cup: Exeter cling onto qualification hopes with bonus-point win at Gloucester, Ulster do double over Scarlets

15 Dec

It’s been an exciting night in the European Champions Cup on Friday as Exeter travelled to Gloucester, while Ulster hosted Scarlets.

Below you can read back about the best of the action.

Gloucester 17-29 Exeter Chiefs

Exeter turned the tables on Gloucester and breathed life into their Heineken Champions Cup campaign with a 29-17 victory at Kingsholm.

Gloucester would have gone top of Pool Two had they repeated last Saturday’s win against the Chiefs in Devon, but it proved a frustrating night for them.

Danny Cipriani’s match finished early

Fly-half Danny Cipriani went off injured just before half-time, and Exeter’s forwards dominated the contest, with lock Sam Skinner, flanker Don Armand, hooker Jack Yeandle and prop Harry Williams scoring tries in a bonus point success.

Cipriani’s opposite number Gareth Steenson kicked three conversions and a penalty as Gloucester managed two Jason Woodward touchdowns and a Tom Hudson try, plus a Billy Twelvetrees conversion.

But they also left Munster in pole position for a quarter-final place if they beat French champions Castres on Saturday.

Gloucester and Exeter are not out of the running, yet Munster – they visit Kingsholm next month and have Exeter at home – remain strong group favourites.

Exeter still have a mountain to climb to reach the quarter-finals

It was Exeter’s first European win of the season, and said everything about their squad depth as a number of frontline players were absent.

Gloucester showed a number of changes following their victory at Sandy Park six days ago, including South Africa international lock Franco Mostert being handed a first start for the club, while Exeter made wholesale switches.

Fresh additions to the Chiefs’ injury list included wing Alex Cuthbert, centre Henry Slade, scrum-half Nic White and flanker Matt Kvesic, but international props Alec Hepburn and Tomas Francis both returned to starting duty.

Mostert was heavily involved in the early exchanges, running and carrying strongly, while also competing fiercely at the breakdown, but Exeter monopolised possession and looked to stretch Gloucester wide.

The Chiefs even sacrificed a penalty shot in front of the posts, going for an attacking lineout instead, and their endeavour was rewarded with a 21st-minute try.

Gloucester had been in constant defence mode, rarely breaking out of their own half, and Exeter prospered after booting another penalty to touch, with their forwards driving a lineout and Skinner touching down.

Steenson converted from the touchline for a 7-0 lead, and Gloucester then blew their most promising spell of the game when Mostert charged recklessly into a ruck and was penalised by referee Mathieu Raynal.

They then breached Exeter’s defence 11 minutes before half-time, driving hard through phase-play, then drawing in Chiefs tacklers and allowing Woodward to cross unopposed.

Cipriani sent the conversion attempt wide, and he departed just five minutes later, leaving the action after appearing to suffer a problem with his right shoulder.

Cipriani had barely reached the Gloucester bench before Exeter struck again through more impressive work by their forwards, and Armand claimed a try that Steenson converted for a deserved 14-5 interval advantage.

Woodward scored two tries for the home side

Gloucester needed a strong start to the second period, but they had the opposite, with Twelvetrees being sin-binned for a technical offence as Exeter looked to make their temporary one-man advantage count.

But Gloucester managed not to concede any points while Twelvetrees was off, although they continued to be a distant second best in terms of territory and possession.

A Steenson penalty put Exeter 12 points clear, only for Woodward to claim his second try with 15 minutes left and lift Gloucester to within striking range.

But Exeter closed out the game with skipper Yeandle’s try – they were also helped by a yellow card for Gloucester prop Josh Hohneck – and Williams’ touchdown secured a five-point maximum after Hudson crossed for Gloucester.

Ulster 30-15 Scarlets

Ulster boosted their hopes of European Champions Cup qualification with a bonus-point 30-15 win over the Scarlets to bring them a maximum 10 points from their back-to-back clashes with the Welsh side.

Cooney was the star man, scoring 15 points for Ulster

John Cooney scored 15 points of Ulster’s total with the bonus-point try, two conversions and two penalties, while second row Iain Henderson bagged two tries with Jacob Stockdale also crossing.

The five points Ulster claimed the same from last week’s meeting at Parc y Scarlets – brought Ulster level on points with Pool Four leaders Racing 92 ahead of their game with Leicester Tigers and ended bottom side Scarlets’ already slim chances of making the last eight.

Ulster led 10-3 at half-time and though the Scarlets, through a Jonathan Davies try, levelled things up, Dan McFarland’s side pushed on with Stockdale, Henderson – bagging his second – and Cooney crossing.

On a miserable evening of swirling wind and rain at the Kingspan, Ulster got the scoreboard moving early when Scarlets skipper Ken Owens was penalised for not rolling away and Cooney landed his first penalty after eight minutes.

Will Addison then crossed the Scarlets line on 13 minutes following a cross-kick from Billy Burns and assist from Henry Speight only for the score to be ruled out for a forward pass.

Speight then went close to scoring himself on 24 minutes but he failed to gather the ball from Addison’s kick through. Ulster had a penalty, though, and put huge pressure on the Scarlets which resulted in prop Wyn Jones being yellow-carded for illegally playing the ball.

Ulster increased the pressure, going for scrums off a series of penalties before Henderson was driven over at the posts on 32 minutes. Cooney converted to put the home side 10-0 up.

Rhys Patchell’s 38th-minute penalty gave the visitors their first points just before Jones’ return from the bin and the half ended with Ulster leading 10-3 with the conditions having seemingly favoured them in the first half.

Eight minutes after the restart, the game exploded into life when Gareth Davies intercepted a pass on his own line and after running into Ulster’s half his cross-kick was pounced on by Jonathan Davies after Speight and Steff Evans had overrun the ball.

Patchell converted to tie the scores and the visitors were right back in the game.

But Ulster responded immediately when Burns’ chip over the top was latched onto by Stockdale who beat two defenders to touch down.

Cooney missed the difficult conversion and Ulster now led 15-10 which became 18-10 when he kicked a 57th-minute penalty.

Five minutes later and Henderson had his second when he powered over from close range after good work by Stuart McCloskey. Cooney’s conversion took Ulster’s lead to 25-10.

The bonus-point score came in the 67th minute when Rory Best – who became Ulster’s most capped player in Europe by making his 72nd appearance – drove off a maul to the line before Cooney followed up to score though he failed with the difficult conversion.
Scarlets managed a consolation score from Tom Pyride in the 78th minute which went unconverted.

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!

Gallagher Premiership: Billy Vunipola scores on Saracens return, Exeter continue good start, Bath and Gloucester draw in thriller

8 Sep

Here is the best from Saturday’s action in the Gallagher Premiership.

Saracens 44-23 Bristol

Billy Vunipola made a try-scoring comeback as Saracens pulled clear of Bristol in a dominant second half that underpinned a 44-23 Gallagher Premiership victory at Allianz Park.

Vunipola’s first appearance since re-fracturing his arm against South Africa in June totalled 36 minutes and the injury-ravaged England number eight was a menace throughout.

Saracens needed his firepower to subdue a resilient Bristol who led 18-13 at half time and suffered the injustice of seeing George Smith harshly sent off for a tackle on Jackson Wray when the score was delicately poised at 18-18.

Vunipola and Saracens turned the screw in the second-half

Smith’s challenge was at shoulder height and there was a clear attempt to use his right arm, but after repeated viewings referee Andrew Jackson reached for the red card. Wray departed for a head injury assessment and was unable to return.

The Australia Test centurion stared at Jackson in disbelief, received a sympathetic pat on the head from his head coach Pat Lam upon reaching the dugout and then watched as Saracens powered clear with tries from Vunipola and Liam Williams.

England lock Maro Itoje was lucky to escape punishment for a high tackle on Joe Joyce under the posts as Bristol staged a final-quarter comeback that ended when Williams plundered two additional tries to complete his own successful return from a groin problem.

Wasps 31-42 Exeter

Exeter beat Wasps 42-31 in an enthralling contest at the Ricoh Arena to continue their impressive start to the Gallagher Premiership season.

Henry Slade scored two of Exeter’s six tries

After last week’s 40-point demolition of Leicester at Sandy Park, the visitors overcame a 24-21 half-time deficit to run out deserved winners.

Sam Simmonds and Henry Slade both scored two tries for Chiefs, with Santiago Cordero and Don Armand also crossing and Gareth Steenson converting all six.

Elliot Daly, Josh Bassett, Dan Robson and Nathan Hughes scored Wasps’ tries, with Billy Searle adding three conversions and a penalty. Lima Sopoaga added a conversion.

Bath 31-31 Gloucester

Matt Banahan denied his former Bath team-mates a remarkable Gallagher Premiership victory as his late converted try secured Gloucester a 31-31 draw.

Banahan denied his old club the victory at the death

Ex-England wing Banahan, who joined Gloucester this summer following a long Bath career that saw him more than 250 appearances, struck two minutes from time, with Billy Twelvetrees’ conversion ensuring the points were shared.

Leicester 49-33 Newcastle

Leicester gave Geordan Murphy the perfect start as interim head coach as they came out on top in a thrilling 49-33 victory over Newcastle.

It had been a turbulent week for the Tigers with Matt O’Connor sacked on Monday following their 40-6 humiliation to Exeter in their Gallagher Premiership opener, leaving former Ireland and British & Irish Lions full-back Murphy in command on a temporary basis.

Murphy got off to a winning start as interim Leicester head coach

But the 40-year-old, who made 316 appearances for the Tigers, watched his men get off to a winning start against his old coach Dean Richards.

Danny Cipriani charged by RFU after nightclub assault as Sir Clive Woodward admits Gloucester star has no England future

17 Aug

Danny Cipriani has been charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game by the Rugby Football Union.

The Gloucester back must appear before an independent disciplinary hearing next week as the fallout from his nightclub scuffle continues.

Cipriani is not in the Gloucester squad for this weekend’s friendly

If the complaint by Twickenham’s head of discipline David Barnes is upheld, Cipriani could face a fine and/or ban.

A statement from the RFU on Friday read: “In light of his conviction for common assault and resisting arrest, Danny Cipriani has been charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game contrary to RFU Rule 5.12.

RFU Head of Discipline David Barnes said: “We have high standards that we expect across the game, in line with rugby’s core values, from all those involved within it. I have this afternoon taken the decision to charge Danny Cipriani.”

The England fly-half was fined £2,000 by Jersey Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to charges of common assault and resisting arrest following an incident that took place on Gloucester’s tour to Jersey.

He was also ordered to pay £250 compensation for the bruised neck suffered by a policewoman during the confrontation at the Royal Yacht Hotel in St Helier in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

It was initially suggested that Cipriani would escape censure from Twickenham with Eddie Jones making a call on his England future in the coming weeks, but he now faces a hearing next week on a day yet to be decided.

The development at Twickenham came less than two hours after he had been omitted from Gloucester’ squad for their pre-season friendly against Ulster.

His England career remains shrouded in doubt with Eddie Jones set to make a call on his future in the coming weeks as the autumn series against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia looms.

Cipriani worked so hard to get back into the England squad, but may have now blown his last chance

Jones names his next training squad on September 20 in advance of a brief camp in Bristol before selecting the players for the November internationals on October 18.

Sir Clive Woodward, England’s 2003 World Cup-winning coach and a long-term admirer of Cipriani’s, has called for him to be discarded by Jones.

“When I heard the news, my first thought was ‘enough is enough’, and when more details came through yesterday, I’m afraid that just confirmed my initial reaction,” he wrote in the Daily Mail.

“When will Danny stop shooting himself in the foot? You have to trust every player on and off the pitch, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“Can Cipriani be trusted? I suspect Eddie will now decide that he can’t and, frankly, who could blame him?

“I am left to sadly conclude that Cipriani has never fully understood that – and now it’s almost certainly too late.”