By Neale Harvey
Danny Cipriani’s probable departure to France at the end of this season would be a “massive loss” to Wasps, according to half-back partner Dan Robson.
England boss Eddie Jones named his latest training squad for the Six Nations on Friday and with Cipriani’s name absent from the 34-man list, it may well hasten the exit of one of English rugby’s most gifted fly-halves, with Toulon, Lyon and Stade Francais ready to pounce.
Cipriani is out of contract in May and Robson, who harbours Red Rose ambitions of his own, told The Rugby Paper: “It’ll be great if Danny does stay at Wasps beyond this season because he has been a joy to play alongside over the last couple of years.
“He’s very similar to me in that we both like playing on the front foot and he loves mixing things up to keep defences guessing. Having him outside opens up space for me and we’ve answered quite a few questions over our game-management.
“You want to continue these relationships, especially in decision-making roles like nine and ten, so if he did leave it would be a massive loss for us.”
With Jones’ squad announcement pending, Robson added: “We tend to keep our heads down regarding the England situation, but hopefully our recent performances have helped. There’s not a lot else we can do other than keep playing well.
“We showed that last weekend where we put La Rochelle into situations they weren’t familiar with and put them under huge pressure.
“Personally, it’s been great to get a good run of games and Danny and I are playing with a lot of confidence.”
Robson is hitting top form as he attempts to smash down the door behind Ben Youngs and Danny Care, who are proving immoveable in England’s No.9 jersey.
He said: “I’ve had no contact from England, but maybe that’s a good sign and it would be nice to see my name in that squad because I feel I’ve made real progress this season, especially in a leadership role where I’ve stepped up quite a lot.
“Dai Young’s given me rein to do that and it’s been hugely enjoyable. Although there’s still plenty I can improve on, I’ve been diligent about all my work-ons such as pace and game-management and it’s heading in the right direction.”
Having bagged five league tries before this weekend, Robson’s ability to spot a half-chance or support his midfield runners is increasingly reminiscent of the man he most admired as a youngster, livewire Australian pivot Will Genia.
Robson, 25, explained: “When I was coming through at Gloucester, Will Genia was the scrum-half I always looked at – the way he organised plays and his support roles.
“People wrote him off over the last couple of years but he’s found his best form again and he’s definitely someone I try to base my game around.
“There are quite a few similarities between us and my support lines are something I work hard on, which has enabled me to score quite a few tries. When you’re playing with guys who make so many breaks, it’s great to be on the end of them.”
With Wasps back in Champions Cup contention and knocking on the door of the Premiership play-off places, Robson anticipates a New Year push for honours.
He added: “After beating La Rochelle, we’ll go into our last two Champions Cup matches against Harlequins and Ulster with all guns blazing to try to get through that group, and we’re looking to get right back into the top four mix in the league.
“There’s lots of confidence, now we need consistency.”
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