England Call Ups For Cipriani And Easter Show Lancaster Will Leave No Stone Unturned To Win The World Cup
England call-ups for Cipriani and Easter show Lancaster will leave no stone unturned to win the World Cup
Now we know for sure – Stuart Lancaster won’t die wondering.
For months, the England coach has been urged to take a look at two players who, week in, week out, light up the Aviva Premiership.
Assorted voices from the North West have proclaimed the playmaking performances and growing maturity of Sale fly-half Danny Cipriani.
Observers from even farther afield have lined up to hail the powerful contributions of Harlequins No.8 Nick Easter.
Until now their calls have fallen on deaf ears. England have left alone, save for Cipriani’s tour call-up last summer when the national team ran out of No.10s and he appeared twice off the bench.
They have preferred to put their faith in younger players with undeniably bright futures.
The problem has been the present.
England have not won a Six Nations since 2011. So now, 240 days out from the start of a home World Cup, Lancaster has decided it prudent to widen his net and see if, just maybe, Cipriani and Easter can add something.
Cipriani is 27, last started a Test in 2008, and has a ‘bad boy’ image for a series of off-field scrapes down the years.
Easter is nine years older and won his 47th cap in 2011.
He too is no stranger to controversy.
Some felt he was tarnished for remarking that England’s quarter-final defeat at the last World Cup was “35 grand down the toilet”.
Neither is expected to start against Wales on Friday fortnight.
Dan”s the man: Danny Cipriani has been recalled by England
Cipriani is ranked fourth of the four fly-halves chosen, Easter probably third behind Billy Vunipola and James Haskell for the No.8 shirt.
But the fact they have been given this chance is a statement by England that no stone will be left unturned in their quest to win the Webb Ellis Cup.
Further evidence of that will come in the summer when Sam Burgess and Steffon Armitage are likely to be included in the World Cup training squad.
Burgess is still learning the game after his cross-code switch and will be included in England’s second team to face Ireland on Friday week.
Armitage, despite being European rugby’s player of the year, cannot be considered as he plays in France, but has every chance of being given special dispensation once Toulon’s season is over.
In the meantime, England must settle on a XV to get a result at the Millennium Stadium. And Dragons boss Warren Gatland questioned whether they know their best line-up.
“We have a settled squad and we know our selections, but England are still debating theirs,” he said. “They don’t seem 100 per cent sure themselves whether to play tight or more expansive.”
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