Cipriani eyes England recall

Danny Cipriani hopes guiding Sale Sharks to a top-six Aviva Premiership finish will be enough to secure his first England call-up in six years.

Rugby Union - Aviva Premiership - Sale Sharks v Harlequins - AJ Bell Stadium

The 26-year-old fly-half has not featured for England since 2008, but has hit form with Sale after several troubled years.

England boss Stuart Lancaster will be forced to field a weakened side for the first of three Tests against New Zealand in June, thanks to the timing of the Premiership final.

The domestic league showpiece takes place on May 31, with Lancaster’s men set to face the All Blacks just seven days later in Auckland.

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The England head coach must cater for that first Test without a host of regular starters, paving the way for fringe players to step into the breach.

Cipriani is understood to be in contention for the tour, and the seven-cap outside-half admitted he has his fingers crossed another chance has finally arrived.

“It all depends how the coaches look at it, there will be latecomers into the squad and there will be people who are new because of the way the Premiership is laid out for the rest of the season,” Cipriani told the BBC.

“This would be a good time to start, for the World Cup, to try to get back into the squad.

“But we have two games left this season to put in a performance for the boys who are leaving.

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“We’ve got to show them the respect they deserve, and then after that perhaps we can talk and discuss that.

“And hopefully my form’s been consistent enough throughout the season to warrant a place.”

Sale host Leicester Tigers on Saturday before travelling to London Irish to complete a resurgent season that has seen boss Steve Diamond shortlisted for the league’s director of rugby of the year award.

Cipriani’s embryonic England career was first derailed when he suffered a nasty fracture dislocation of his ankle with Wasps, before the attack-minded playmaker got caught up in a number of compromising off-field situations.

After a controversial stint at Melbourne Rebels, Cipriani believes he is now finally settling down at Sale, albeit after he was hit by a bus during a pub crawl in Leeds in April 2013.

“It’s something I’ve always thought about, it’s why you play rugby,” he said, focusing on his England aim.

“I had to do myself justice to put the best case forward for myself, I was conscious of that at the end of last season and I think I’ve done that.

“I haven’t done that much differently from before, but I guess I’ve got to carry a bit more responsibility on how I behave.”

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