Jones says Cipriani is ‘third choice’ fly-half after England autumn squad snub

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Head coach Eddie Jones described Danny Cipriani as England’s “third choice” fly-half after leaving him out of England’s squad for the autumn Test series.

Cipriani has been overlooked despite a strong start to the season with Gloucester which saw him named Gallagher Premiership player of the month for September.

Cipriani, who was fined over an incident at a Jersey nightclub in August, started England’s most recent game against South Africa in June and set-up a pivotal try for Jonny May.

But he misses out despite being watched four times by Jones this season.

“We have got two good 10s (Owen Farrell and George Ford),” said Jones. “It is tough on Danny but he is third choice at the moment.”

Jones has made Dylan Hartley and Farrell co-captains for the Tests against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia because he sees them a great leadership combination.

Hartley must share the leadership with Farrell for the first time during Jones’ reign.

But the Australian insists it is an obvious move for him to make ahead of  the autumn series.

England Training and Press Conference – St Edwards School
Owen Farrell, third left, and Dylan Hartley, fourth left, are co-captains for England (John Walton/PA)

“Whatever team I’ve coached that has had success you’ve always had two at the top.

“Traditionally it has been captain and vice-captain but I see the role as being co-captains on the field. Dylan will handle some things, Owen will handle others – the things which come naturally to them both.”

Jones had to contend with injuries and suspensions when naming his 36-man squad which contains eight uncapped players.

Gloucester No8 Ben Morgan has won an England recall for the autumn series.
Gloucester number eight Ben Morgan has won an England recall for the autumn series (Mike Egerton/PA)

Farrell and Ford are the recognised fly-halves in the squad, although Henry Slade and Alex Lozowski provide cover in the position.

Ben Morgan makes his first appearance in an England squad since the 2015 World Cup as a result of the crisis at number eight that has seen Billy Vunipola and Sam Simmonds ruled out of the entire series by injury and Nathan Hughes miss all but the final match due to suspension.

Jones said: “I’m really happy with the squad. We can only control what we can control and injuries have happened.

“It gives an opportunity for some good new players to play some important Tests for England while players who have been in the squad before, will have to take on more responsibility.”

Wing Chris Ashton is present despite having yet to make his debut for Sale with his seven-week ban for a tip-tackle having just elapsed.

Manu Tuilagi has overcome a succession of injuries to win inclusion and he will be competing with Ben Te’o – who has not played this season because of thigh and ankle problems – for selection in midfield.

England’s loosehead prop resources have been decimated by Mako Vunipola’s absence due to a calf issue and the international retirement of Joe Marler, leaving Alex Hepburn and Ben Moon as the only recognised options in the position.

The squad contains eight uncapped players and confirms the decline of veterans Dan Cole and James Haskell, who have been omitted once more.

Eddie Jones side are gearing up for matches against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia. (Owen Humphreys/PA).
Eddie Jones’ side are gearing up for matches against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia. (Owen Humphreys/PA).

“South Africa have been going really well. They have a new coach and have selected well,” said Jones, whose England team fell to a 2-1 series defeat to Rassie Erasmus’ men in June.

“They play a traditional Springbok game up front and move the ball wide when they need to. We’ll need to take them on up front and when we have opportunities to score points we have to be good enough to take them.”

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