Lancaster: Cipriani in the mix
Stuart Lancaster will name his England squad for the three Test series in New Zealand on Monday and has admitted Danny Cipriani is in contention to tour.
The Sale fly-half last played for England in 2008 and it appears the England head coach is deciding between him and Freddie Burns as the third choice No 10 behind Saracens' Owen Farrell and George Ford of Bath.
Farrell will definitely miss the opener in Auckland as he features for his club in their Aviva Premiership final against Northampton on May 31.
Cipriani has not played for England since winning the last of seven caps in 2008 but Lancaster told Sky Sports News: "It's good to get Danny Cipriani back in the England camp.
"I spent a bit of time with him last night talking through the last couple of seasons all the lessons he's learnt and where we've evolved as a team. So I think he's just excited about being back.
"Freddie Burns has never let us down for England, he's suffered a bit in that transitional time from leaving Gloucester but I thought his form picked up towards the end of the season and there's a great opportunity for him as well.
"I'm open-minded at the moment. It's early days in the camp and see how it goes towards the end of the week and certainly we'll make a clearer decision by the start of next week."
Lancaster has dismissed any suggestion of England entering their first Test at Eden Park on June 7 intent on damage limitation.
The Aviva Premiership final means Lancaster will be missing five regular starters for the series opener.
"Obviously we will create a gameplan that we think will be effective against the All Blacks, but we will continue on the path that we've taken," the head coach said.
"Whoever is picked at scrum-half and fly-half, it's an exciting backline. We hope for dry weather so we can play some rugby. We will continue in the same vein."
Lancaster has confirmed Northampton hooker Dylan Hartley's chances of participating in the tour are receding because of the shoulder injury sustained six weeks ago.
It is still unknown whether the Kiwi-born front row will be involved in Friday's Amlin Challenge Cup final against Bath or the Aviva Premiership final the following weekend.
"Dylan, as you've heard from (Northampton director of rugby) Jim Mallinder, is making slower progress than hoped for with his shoulder," Lancaster said.
"We'll monitor that with Northampton throughout the week and make a decision on him before we fly (next Tuesday). We'll wait and see how it plays out."
Lancaster was able to deliver a more promising update on full-back Mike Brown's hip injury after stating he will resume training next week.
The England head coach is "hopeful" centre Billy Twelvetrees and hooker Rob Webber, who are struggling with ankle and knee injuries, will be fit for the first Test.
Watch all three Tests of England's series in New Zealand exclusively on Sky Sports, starting on Saturday, June 7 on Sky Sports 1HD from 0800