Danny Cipriani 'in love with rugby again'
ESPN Staff
March 5, 2014
Danny Cipriani slots a drop goal, Sale Sharks v Bath, Aviva Premiership, AJ Bell Stadium, October 4, 2013
Danny Cipraini slots a kick for Sale © PA Photos

Danny Cipriani, who has often featured more in the gossip columns than the sporting pages in recent years, has told the Mail on Sunday that he is again "deeply in love with rugby" and has set his sights on an England recall.

Cipriani burst onto the international scene in 2008 as a 20-year-old and won seven caps for England in that year. Bit injury and then a falling out with manager Martin Johnson saw him slip down the pecking order. He then played for two years in Australia and regularly featured in the newspapers for his high-profile relationships.

"I've always been in love with rugby," he said. "I feel very privileged to do what I'm doing, but there was a time I wasn't necessarily enjoying it. I'm deeply in love with it again and I really appreciate the way Sale have treated me. I've improved my diet, worked on my time-keeping and feel as if I'm producing the consistent performances people want from me.

But he has been quietly impressing with his performances for Sale this season and told the newspaper he was targeting the summer's New Zealand tour as a focus for his efforts after conversations with coach Stuart Lancaster. But he is up against tough competition with Owen Farrell, Toby Flood and George Ford all vying for the fly-half slot.

Kelly Brook and Danny Cipriani out in town, London, April 26, 2009 i
Cipriani out on the town with then girlfriend Kelly Brook © Getty Images

"It's important I just keep playing well and keep doing what I'm doing," Cipriani, who is now 26, said. "Hopefully there's a chance for me if I keep performing until the end of the season."

He said his motivational trainer Steve Black was a considerable influence on him getting back on track. "It's nice to have someone like Blacky who I can talk to and who understands what I'm about.

"We get each other and get on really well and he tells me the hard truths when I need to hear them. He stays on top of me to make sure I do what I need to do every day, and it's important to do that.

' "I feel like I'm playing well week in and week out now, which is what Stuart asked of me. I've been working for more than 240 days with Blacky now and it's a daily habitual thing. 'I'm in a good place and hopefully it's showing."

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