sport

Cipriani back in England fold

Danny Cipriani has been named in England's preliminary squad for next week's training camp in south-west London.

Cipriani was tipped for a recall after an impressive season for the Sharks, and he will join a 20-man squad for training next week ahead of a fixture against the Barbarians on June 1 followed by the trip to New Zealand.

The 26-year-old won the last of his seven caps in 2008, completing the return to favour of a gifted player who lost his way amid concerns over his attitude and celebrity lifestyle.

Cipriani's game-management has been key to Sale's sixth-place finish in the Premiership this season, just 12 months after the club flirted with relegation.

Before naming his initial squad, Lancaster hinted that Cipriani would be rewarded for his performances this season with a chance to win back his England place.

He said: "I judge players on their form for their club. Reputation and what they've done in the past counts for something, but not everything.

"Danny's definitely improved and Sale have played well. Danny has controlled the games really well. I'm pleased with what he's done and he's in the equation.

"His game management has been the key point this season. His kicking game has been excellent. As with all players, there are areas he can work on.

"If we bring him into camp, our first port of call with him will be to sit him down, go through his game and give him some feedback on what we're looking for.

"Fly-half is such a pivotal position in the team. Players like Freddie Burns, Stephen Myler, Owen Farrell and George Ford are already up to speed with our gameplan and plays.

"Danny would have to get up to speed with all of that and then deliver at international level in terms of execution.

"That's the challenge for players coming into an international side."

Lancaster will add around 20 players to his squad following the Aviva Premiership play-offs and the finals of the European competitions, and he will confirm his squad for the clash with the Barbarians on May 26.

Lancaster said: "The New Zealand tour and the game against the Barbarians give us a chance to look at a wide group of players, some of whom are well known to us from the Elite Player Squad, others who we will get to work with for the first time next week.

"That is an exciting challenge for us coaches and it's a great opportunity for those players to put a marker down for selection for the tour and the Barbarians game."