Aviva Premiership
'I'm certainly not Santa Claus'
ESPN Staff
December 24, 2012
Sale's Danny Cipriani stretches the London Irish defence, Sale Sharks v London Irish, Aviva Premiership, Salford City Stadium, Salford, England, November 2, 2012
Danny Cipriani was dropped ahead of the Sharks' latest Premiership defeat to Wasps on Sunday © PA Photos

Sale boss John Mitchell has heaped further woe on fly-half Danny Cipriani but insists he has a future at the club if he can raise his game.

Cipriani was dropped ahead of their latest Premiership defeat to Wasps on Sunday that leaves them rooted to the bottom of the table. Mitchell, the Sharks' interim director of rugby, pin-pointed the 25-year-old's defensive shortcomings for his demotion while club owner Brian Kennedy also weighed in with a stinging attack on their high-profile playmaker.

Despite the absence of Cipriani at Adams Park, there was no escaping the issue with Mitchell forced to clarify his stance on the former England international who was recruited from Super Rugby side the Melbourne Rebels in the summer. "I'm certainly not Santa Claus - I don't care where he played before," the Kiwi told the Daily Mail. "All I've asked him to do is defend.

"Our defence was good last week until he chose to be an individual. You have to serve your team-mates before yourself. He was not the only player to receive bad news so if he improves his defence he will come back into contention."

The Sharks escaped with what could prove to be a valuable bonus point that leaves them five points below fellow strugglers London Irish who slumped to defeat to Leicester in their latest outing. "You cannot discount the importance of that bonus point today," reflected Mitchell.

"If we can win our next game, at home to Worcester, it would put us right back where we need to be. Everyone has to take responsibility for where we are and things have to change. We've got to make it happen on the 28th, then it can become a defining game."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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