TOP BAR - Fixtures

Cipriani ready for battle of the fly-halves

At least four Aviva Premiership Rugby fly-halves are in the hunt for England’s World Cup squad and Sale Sharks talisman Danny Cipriani believes this summer’s training camp will determine who wins the race.

Cipriani, Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell, Stephen Myler of Northampton Saints and Bath Rugby man George Ford – recently named Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Year – are all in head coach Stuart Lancaster’s 50-man squad.

Throw in Henry Slade of Exeter Chiefs, who has split his time between fly-half and outside centre this season, and competition is rife.

However, while Ford and Farrell prepare to do battle in the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on Saturday, Cipriani admits the other contenders will be focusing on impressing the Red Rose hierarchy when camp starts.

“There are obviously going to be people who have got their names under the jersey but when it comes down to it if you have an outstanding camp, you’re going to get picked,” said Cipriani, who is working with Emirates, an Official Worldwide Partner for Rugby World Cup 2015, for the next 11 weeks on their Find the Flag competition. 

“The coaches are very open with that and they do pick on form and how people train.

“It was nice to see my name in that 50-man squad but there is obviously still a lot of hard work to go in. There are so many quality players in all different positions.

“It’s going to be down to me and how I conduct myself in training camp and how I train every single day, making sure I do improve.”

While Ford appears to be the man in possession this year, Cipriani admits Farrell – whose season has been blighted by injury – is also a significant threat.

“When you’ve had an injury and you return to action, you do come back a lot hungrier – especially when someone has taken your shirt,” added Cipriani.

“That is going to bring some intensity to the camp itself. In every position there are going to be little battles and interesting conflicts – in a good way – which is only going to push the standard of the team. It is going to make sure the people who do get selected are the best men for the job.

“I think they are both a similar sort of age but they have both been around for a while, Owen in particular, and one of them will add a Premiership medal to their locker this weekend.

“It will be interesting to see their little battle and how that plays out but it’s also great to see two budding young tens fighting for the Premiership this weekend and for the No.10 spot for England.”

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