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Danny Cipriani opens up on the frustration of being overlooked by England

By Jon Newcombe

ENGLAND discard Danny Cipriani insists he hasn’t been given a fair crack of the whip at the highest level and riles at suggestions he’s a wasted talent.

The Gloucester playmaker, who has been banned for three weeks following his red card against Munster last week, defends his record in an England jersey and hopes that, one day, he will be able to put the record straight on the pitch.

In an exclusive interview with quarterly journal Rugby, on sale now, Cipriani said: “It’s frustrating for me when people say, ‘he’s had so many chances.’ What chances are they talking about? I had one start for England in 10 years,” said Cipriani, whose international career amounts to 16 caps spread over a decade.

“I know my skillset and what I can bring, and every time I have been given an opportunity at that level – whether it be off the bench for 10, 15 or 20 minutes – I’d like to think that I’ve had an impact on the game in a positive way.

“There are obviously lots of things I can work on as a rugby player, which I’m continuing to do, and I love that. I love being at Gloucester because there’s such a great challenge here.

“But, yeah, reading about all the chances is definitely the most frustrating thing I ever read, because I don’t think I have really…”

A moment of magic from Cipriani set up Jonny May for England’s match-winning score in the third and final Test of this summer’s series against South Africa, the most recent of his 16 caps for England.

However, the 30-year-old will not get the opportunity to beat the Boks again, at Twickenham on November 3, after first being controversially being left out of Eddie Jones’ Autumn squad and now banned for last weekend’s sending off.

(Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Cipriani was arrested for a minor incident outside a Jersey nightclub during Gloucester’s pre-season tour to the Channel Islands and Jones appears to have held it against him.

A brilliant run of form that saw the former Wasps and Sale player pick up the Premiership Player of the Month award for September suggests there can be no other explanation.

Lesser characters might have crumbled but the way he took his red card on the chin against Munster last week, shows Cipriani is well-versed in coping with adversity.

Clearly comfortable in his own skin, Cipriani also opens up about his battle with depression, his absent father, the relationship he enjoys, or tolerates, with the media and how different coaches have perceived him over the years.

“When I’m done in the next couple of years, I’ll know that I have given it my best shot, if coaches in those times have felt it difficult to get to know me or felt like I was challenging, then maybe we’ve all got some learning to do.”

Cipriani, 30, will miss three Premiership Rugby Cup games following his sending off, but it is unlikely he would have been involved. The former Sale and Wasps player is available again for the Premiership match against Leicester on November 16.

Read the full Danny Cipriani interview in issue 4 of Rugby, a quarterly journal available to order from therugbyjournal.com

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