Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Balshaw's Ditched as Danny Gets Call; Hard Going: Iain Balshaw Makes a Rare Break for England in the Defeat against Wales at Twickenham Last Month and Now Faces the Axe

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Balshaw's Ditched as Danny Gets Call; Hard Going: Iain Balshaw Makes a Rare Break for England in the Defeat against Wales at Twickenham Last Month and Now Faces the Axe

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS JONES

BRIAN ASHTON ditched Iain Balshaw for Danny Cipriani at full-back todaywhen he named his starting XV for Saturday's Calcutta Cup match with Scotland.

The Wasps fly-half will make his first start for England in the match atMurrayfield after three ineffective displays by Gloucester back Balshaw.

Ashton has also dropped Mark Regan, who came off during the victory overFrance, in favour of Bath's Lee Mears.

Also making his first start will be Leicester's Tom Croft, who replaces theinjured James Haskell.

The London Wasps player was hurt in Paris, but Croft showed he could quicklyadjust to Test rugby and he has the physical attributes needed to take on thebulky Scottish pack.

England coach Ashton has refused to rest on his laurels despite the impressivewin a fortnight ago with the call-up for Cipriani (below) the big decision.

He played at full-back in last season's Heineken Cup win over Leicester and the20-year-old has previously won support for his inclusion for England in thatposition from Wasps team-mate Lawrence Dallaglio.

"What Danny needs is an introduction to international rugby to find the pace ofthe game and find his feet," said Dallaglio. "Maybe that could be better doneat No15, where you get a chance to read and understand the game." Today's news,however, will disappoint Gloucester director of rugby Dean Ryan who had urgedAshton to give Balshaw another chance, insisting that he must get more of theball to silence the doubters.

Ryan's Premiership club supply powerhouse wing Lesley Vainikolo and Balshaw tothe back division and he still sees both as potential match winnersif allowed to run free.

He said: "It is a valid debate given that Balsh had a kick charged down againstWales and there were a couple of missed high balls in the last game [against

France]. …

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