Six Nations: Cipriani set to vie for England playmaker duties
England’s rugby union selectors have announced a 34-man provisional squad for the forthcoming Six Nations 2015 and there is one name in there with the potential to throw the cat among the flock of playmaker pigeons.
Sale Sharks’ fly-half Danny Cirpriani is included alongside Saracens’ Owen Farrell and Bath Rugby’s George Ford, who displaced the Sarries man at 10 for England’s last two matches, with Northampton Saints’ Stephen Myler completing the playmaker picture.
During a career stalked by controversy 27-year-old Cipriani appears to be timing his international redemption beautifully with a World Cup on the horizon and the number 10 shirt seemingly still up for grabs.
However, given the performances of Ford during the final two Autumn internationals, the man once touted as Johnny Wilkinson’s natural successor will have his work cut out to remain after the squad is trimmed down to 23.
There is little question that Cipriani plays with the most flair of the quartet, but his blotted off-field copybook and suspect defensive capabilities means he still has some detractors.
Stuart Lancaster will also get a look at recalled Harlequins’ No.8 Nick Easter for the first time in his tenure, after Ben Morgan was ruled out for the season through injury.
England, who play Wales in the cauldron which is the Millenium Stadium in their opening game of the Six Nations, start as the questionable 11/4 favourites for the Triple Crown.
Although the Red Rose finished the Autumn with a mini flourish, the current champions Ireland were the only northern hemisphere side to win all their games during the annual series of Tests.
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