Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cipriani Told to Be Ready in Case England Need Him to Be Their Stephen Donald

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cipriani Told to Be Ready in Case England Need Him to Be Their Stephen Donald

Article excerpt

Byline: RUGBY UNION Simon Collings

DANNY CIPRIANI says Eddie Jones has told him to keep himself ready for the World Cup in case he needs to be England's Stephen Donald.

Gloucester fly-half Cipriani was named in England's training squad at the start of the summer but he failed to make the final 31-man group who flew to Japan on Sunday.

However, speaking yesterday, Cipriani revealed how Jones has told him and the rest of those who missed out to be ready in case they are called up because of injuries.

When England announced their World Cup squad last month, Jones confirmed how Piers Francis was his third choice fly-half but that he could draft another No10 into the squad if either George Ford or Owen Farrell got injured.

When speaking to Cipriani and those who missed out, Jones reminded them of what happened to New Zealand fly-half Donald at the 2011 World Cup (below).

Donald, 35, was on a fishing holiday when the tournament started but cut his vacation short to join up as an injury replacement and he went on to kick the winning penalty in the final against France.

Cipriani said: "Eddie hasn't said it directly [that I am the next pick] but he has just said: 'Be ready'."

"I am sure he has said it to Browny [Mike Brown] and a few others. He is very diligent in that sort of way.

"He had a big conversation with 10 or 12 of us, saying to be ready. He cited the Donald story several times, so people were aware of it.

"A good coach going into a competition would want to do that and have some motivation in a sense for those players. The stat is four to six players in every World Cup change in a squad."

Cipriani's World Cup axe came after he enjoyed a brilliant campaign with Gloucester in the Premiership last season. The 31-year-old was crowned Premiership Player of the Season and the Rugby Players Association's Player of the Season, becoming only the second player to scoop both awards in one season. …

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