Cipriani cameo catches England's eye
October 18, 2012
Danny Cipriani is set to return to the Sale No.10 shirt for this weekend's clash with Montpellier © PA Photos
England boss Stuart Lancaster has offered some words of encouragement to Sale fly-half Danny Cipriani as he continues his quest for a return to the international stage.
Cipriani came off the bench to steer the Sharks to a thrilling 34-33 victory over Cardiff Blues in their Heineken Cup opener last weekend and is set to be rewarded with a starting place when they travel to Montpellier on Sunday.
His return to top form came after a low-key start to the Premiership campaign that mirrored Sale's plight as they slumped to six straight defeats. As a result, Cipriani has seen his opportunities limited and that failure to nail down a starting berth will hinder his international chances according to Lancaster.
"His challenge is to start and play well for Sale. If he does that on a consistent basis he'll be considered like everyone else," Lancaster told BBC Radio Five Live.
Cipriani, who joined the Sharks from Melbourne Rebels earlier this year, is no stranger to Lancaster and that history may benefit the player's chances of a first cap since 2008. "I'm lucky, I coached Danny a lot before he went to Australia and he worked with me in the Saxons," Lancaster added.
"When I spoke to him out in Australia he said the priority is to come back and play well in the Premiership. It was great that he came on and made a difference [on Sunday] and great for Sale to get that win."
However, assistant coach Mike Catt stressed that Cipriani is by no means the only player pushing for selection. "It's not just Danny Cipriani," he said. "There's George Ford, Freddie Burns, Toby Flood - these guys are playing consistently well at the moment so it is a case of them making sure they put themselves in the limelight continually and impress us as a group of coaches but also do what is right for their team."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.