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VIDEO – Cipriani eager to improve among England belief

28 May 2014

  • Fly half on verge of first England cap since 2008
  • “I really appreciate being part of this” – Cipriani

Danny Cipriani insists self-belief will not be a problem for England as they head on tour to New Zealand, and says he is hugely excited about improving under Stuart Lancaster over the next month.              

Danny Cipriani

Photo: Getty Images

Named in a 31-man group to face the All Blacks in Auckland on June 7, Cipriani will compete with Freddie Burns for a starting berth in the first Test and looks certain to feature in a full international for the first time since 2008 – when he made a debut aged 20 in a 33-10 win over Ireland and won all seven of his England caps.

The ensuing six years have seen a stint in Australia with the Melbourne Rebels before he returned to these shores with Sale Sharks, who secured a commendable sixth-place finish in this season’s Aviva Premiership.

Now 26, Cipriani garnered 143 points in that effort and feels hugely proud to have secured this remarkable return to the fold. And, while admitting that such a long absence made his call-up even sweeter, he is also determined to work hard enough to exploit the opportunity.

“It was brilliant to put on an England shirt on last week for training,” he explained. “When Stuart called it was also a great feeling, but that didn’t last as long as perhaps it might have done in the past.

“I know there’s a job to do now and I’m excited about on how I’m going to develop as a player being in this environment with these coaches and the calibre of players that are here.

Danny Cipriani

Photo: Getty Images

“My biggest focus this month is to come away as a better player. Through that, hopefully I can give the best I can give of myself.

“Stuart and the other coaches want to see what I’m like and how I carry myself around the field and off the field as well. It’s been a while, so it’s nice for them to see me up close and personal. They’ve given me areas to work on and trying to implement them as soon as I can to make sure I’m learning.

“If you ask most 25 or 26 year-olds, they’ll be a lot different to what they were like at 20. It’s all part of growing up, but if everything in life came easy, you might not feel the gratification of earning it. Now it feel like it’s been a journey and I really appreciate being part of this.”

Cipriani believes England’s attacking patterns are among “the most advanced” he has ever been involved with, and has taken every opportunity to familiarise himself with Mike Catt’s plays since coming into camp at the start of last week.

Certainly, with the likes of Manu Tuilagi, Mike Brown, Marland Yarde and Jonny May among England’s backline options for the First Test in nine days time, he will be hopeful of some front-foot ball.

Danny Cipriani

Photo: Getty Images

Finally, Cipriani turned to the arduous challenge of facing the All Blacks. Over two Super 15 campaigns with the Rebels, he came up against Kiwi sides on numerous occasions and knows first-hand how demanding this trip will be. That said, Lancaster’s charges are thoroughly prepared for whatever lies in store.

“New Zealand is a passionate nation and rugby is their number one sport,” Cipriani finished. “They’ve been leading the way for the past two years.

“England have been on an upward curve in the past 12 months as well though, and that is credit to the coaches. The work off the field has been just as important as the training itself. Hopefully we can go out there and show that.

“Stuart instils belief in everyone. There’s passion and diligence in every meeting and he delivers everything flawlessly. It really gives everyone a sense of confidence heading out there.”