Six Nations looks first chance for Cipriani to return to England team
Despite moving to Sale, Danny Cipriani is unlikely to be handed an England chance in 2012
Taking the 5/4 that Danny Cipriani is picked by England this year may look on the short side, but 2/1 could be good value that he features again on the international stage in the 2013 Six Nations.
There has never been any doubt relating to the talent of Cipriani, but he has been an England exile since 2008 because of his nature of getting caught up in off-field problems and doubts as to whether he is totally committed to rugby.
A desire to return to the international fold is perhaps the key reason that he has moved back to England, signing a three-year deal with the Sale Sharks from Australian outfit the Melbourne Rebels.
Given the success of a largely new-look England in the Six Nations, Cipriani may have to be patient in waiting for his chance.
England’s winter tour this year is in South Africa and whoever England appoint as full-time coach is likely to want an experienced head to take over at fly-half should anything happen to Owen Farrell.
Therefore, it is expected to be a straight battle between Charlie Hodgson and Toby Flood as to who will travel as the replacement number ten.
The other problem for Cipriani in this respect is that with the club season almost over, he will not have many games at Sale to play himself into the England reckoning.
However, the chances of him appearing in the Six Nations next year are far greater.
Sale have shown no reluctance in the transfer market in the past year, with Scotland’s Richie Gray the latest to join Cipriani among the new recruits.
More new faces are likely to arrive at Edgeley Park ahead of next season and so Cipriani should have ample opportunity to shine in a team making a big bid to challenge for honours.
This will not only give Cipriani extra time to impress the England management, but the end of the South African tour could be the next occasion when the decision is made to make numerous squad changes.