DANNY Cipriani has been dropped from England’s 36-man squad for its training camp ahead of the November rugby union Tests, a month after being arrested following an incident at a nightclub.
England coach Eddie Jones said the decision to leave out the fly-half was based purely on form, and not on Cipriani’s conviction for assault and resisting arrest during a night out in preseason with teammates from his new English club, Gloucester.
“That’s the case, 100 per cent,” Jones said.
“We’ve decided just to have two standoffs (George Ford and Owen Farrell) in the squad for this particular camp because we want them to get a lot of training time.
“Danny’s probably third or fourth choice and he knows what he’s got to work on, which is between Danny and I.
“He’s disappointed but he understands.”
Cipriani was England’s starting fly-half in its most recent game — against South Africa in June — and has made an excellent start to the domestic rugby season.
Powerful centre Manu Tuilagi returned after an absence of more than a year because of a slew of injury problems, while winger Chris Ashton is also included despite being midway through a seven-week domestic ban for a dangerous tackle.
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Ashton has yet to make a competitive appearance for Sale Sharks following his summer move from French club Toulon, but Jones will take a look at the rugby league convert before naming his final squad for the autumn series on October 18.
“It’s a judgment. Selection is a judgment, and my judgment is that Ashton’s going to be important for us in November,” Jones said.
“We’ve kept close checks on what he’s doing training-wise, Sale have been very good in working with us on him, and we believe that he could be potentially available for selection.”
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