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Will Greenwood: What more does Danny Cipriani have to do?

7:05 am, 21st September 2018

What more does Danny Cipriani have to do?

He’s been in great form over the last few weeks and it’s hard to imagine him playing any better – but it’s still not good enough for England and Eddie Jones.

If he can’t get in the training squad now I don’t know how he’s going to get in unless he starts tackling like Richie McCaw!

All jokes aside, I fear he might have had it with Jones once again favouring Owen Farrell and George Ford.

Jones insists Cipriani could still have an England future and has told him what he needs to work, but would not be drawn on the details.

It can only be defence because from an offensive point of view he’s reminded us this season that he has it all.

He’s the quarterback, he’s the man you want in the pocket, making the calls, delivering the passes, reading what’s in front of him and adapting his game to that.

But he’s not the only in-form fly-half and I don’t want the fallout from this decision to overshadow the fact that Ford has also been playing really well this season.

Ford also benefits from a symbiotic relationship with Farrell and I just feel that if Jones goes with Cipriani he has got to change the whole dynamic of his 10/12 combination which is something he is loathe to do.

You sense that the fact Ford and Farrell understand each other so well outweighs the individual excellence of Cipriani.

Of course, no one really knows except Jones, but what we do know is that this will hit Cipriani hard.

Privately, I think he will probably load all of his toys in a pram and then launch it to the moon.

Publicly, he is not going to blow up now as a lot can happen in 12 months.

His goal has always been to come back to England, play well, and go to the World Cup. So to be cast aside with just one year to go until that tournament will be hugely frustrating and demoralising.

Knowing Danny’s fondness for rap lyrics, I’m sure he’ll find a line from Drake or Jay-Z or whoever that sums up his mood and share it with the masses who following him on Instagram and Twitter.

Something that will involve ‘getting back on the horse and going again’ although that sounds more like Kenny Rogers.

Unfortunately for him, it appears his face simply does not fit with Eddie.

He was given the number ten jersey in South Africa for what was a dead rubber, it was a shame he didn’t get a chance to remind us of what he can do when the series was still alive.

I just hope the rumours that say he’s not getting in no matter how well he’s playing are not true and he continues to shine and give Jones food for thought.

What may be of particular concern for Danny is the presence of Henry Slade and Alex Lozowski in the squad – two talented players more than able to back-up in the fly-half role.

There’s also a return to the squad for Manu Tuilagi after serious injury and Leicester fans will be hoping he doesn’t become the latest high-profile casualty at an England training camp.

With the start of European competition just around the corner and the dust only just settled on the row with the Premiership clubs, they may have the cotton wool out for the camp in Bristol.

Eddie also found himself defending the appointment of John Mitchell as his defence coach.

I also questioned the fact Mitchell will not be relocating from South Africa in this week’s podcast but on reflection I may have been a little hasty in my judgement.

It is just a one-year deal and they’re probably only be together as a squad for around 11 weeks of the season.

Mitchell also maybe thinks that he doesn’t need to be there all the time, be one of the boys, be their storyteller, it’s Eddie’s job to take them on that journey.

The more I think about it, it’s not ideal but it’s not impossible.

I am lucky enough to be able to analyse footage from every game on my laptop and no doubt so can Mitchell.

He has plenty of experience, including taking New Zealand to the 2003 World Cup, and I think Eddie will welcome another big-game manager at the heart of the team, someone who has been in the trenches at a World Cup with a team like the All Blacks.