Cipriani knew it would be ‘very difficult’ to sway Jones and earn World Cup spot

The Gloucester star had his work cut out to secure a place on the plane to Japan.

By Press Association Published: 11 September 2019 - 9.00pm

Danny Cipriani believes he needed to “turn water into wine” to convince England head coach Eddie Jones to select him for the Rugby World Cup.

The 31-year-old appreciates why Jones opted to omit him from the 31-man squad for Japan 2019, with Owen Farrell and George Ford the two front-line fly-halves.

The talented number 10 won the Premiership player-of-the-season award with Gloucester last term, forcing his way back into late contention for a World Cup call.

Saracens v Gloucester Rugby – Gallagher Premiership – Semi-Final – Allianz Park
Danny Cipriani has thrown his support behind England’s World Cup bid (Paul Harding/PA)

Jones brought Cipriani back into the England mix during pre-season training, but left the former Wasps and Sale star out of his eventual line-up.

And now Cipriani has moved to express his acceptance with winding up surplus to World Cup requirements.

Asked if he was given a fair fight at World Cup selection, Cipriani said: “What is a fair crack of the whip? I can’t go in there demanding any time.

“It is just characters and it is just different people. Eddie is in a high-pressure situation being England coach and he has done a great job.

“He has put his faith in George Ford and Owen Farrell and they have done well for him.

Gallagher Premiership Launch – Twickenham
Cipriani, centre left, poses with the Premiership trophy at the season launch press conference (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“Going into a big competition I would have had to turn water into wine to really sway him. It would have been very difficult to do so.

“I can completely understand why he made his decision. Do I think it was the right decision? I don’t know. I am going to support England and hope they do great.”

Farrell’s importance as captain and back-line pivot with England has led some to suggest that there would not be room for Cipriani alongside the Saracens and British and Irish Lions fulcrum in the Test squad.

Asked if Farrell’s central role had any bearing on his England exclusion, Cipriani said: “I have no idea. Eddie Jones picks the team so it is a lot of people clutching at straws to try and create a problem before a big competition.

“Eddie is a very strong character and he is not going to be swayed by anyone.

England v Ireland – Quilter International – Twickenham Stadium
Eddie Jones, pictured, overlooked Cipriani for his England World Cup squad (Adam Davy/PA)

“I never went into the England camps with any expectation.

“Going into a big competition he has backed Ford and Faz for so long and they have brought him success.

“I knew I was on the back foot to try and do that so I went into it with no expectation. The only thing that I could do was enjoy it.

“Years ago going on an army camp would probably have been something I would have hated but my mindset was that I can only control my response.

“Our team ended up winning the trials and for me that was the personal growth within it.

“You want to be with England, you want to be in Japan but is it going to change me as a person? It is not.

“I’ve had the most amazing five or six weeks away (in California) and I wouldn’t change that.

“If I was picking the (England) team I would have picked myself, for sure, but so would everyone be doing that.

“In terms of the (personal) accolades, it is so weird to be getting them in team sport because rugby is such a team sport.

“If you haven’t got a big pack or a pack going forward, it is very hard.

“There are times when packs have not been going forward and I can still do a bit, but it is difficult.

“So you’ve got to share those accolades. I am so happy to see Gloucester going forward the way they are.

“I get more joy out of seeing Ollie Thorley and the way he is and Willi Heinz going and getting the recognition he deserves.

“For me, awards are good for my ego, but I would rather go and see that.”