Cipriani returns to England fold

International
Beth Newman Profile
by AFP & Beth Newman

Danny Cipriani's three years in the England wilderness came to an end when he was recalled by coach Eddie Jones on Thursday for the upcoming tour of South Africa.

The Wasps fly-half, regarded as one of the most talented English players of his generation, has not played for England since 2015.

His stop-start international career has been interrupted by injuries, while his occasionally colourful off-field lifestyle has not endeared him to several England coaches.

But having previously failed to persuade Jones of his merits, Cipriani was selected in the Australian's 34-man squad for next month's three-Test series against the Springboks.

Brad Shields has been released to play for England. Photo: Getty ImagesEarlier in the day, New Zealand Rugby announced it was willing to release flanker Brad Shields for the series as well, despite a contractual despite over his eligibility.

In a statement, NZ Rugby said it had made an exception for the Hurricanes captain, who had sought a release in conjunction with the England's Rugby Football Union.

Three weeks after the request, NZ Rugby has relented.

Its head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum said there were clear legal grounds to turn Shields down if they wished.

"Our contract agreement requires Brad to be available for only New Zealand teams until the end of his term, which expires at the end of this year's Super Rugby season," Lendrum said.

"Having said that, Brad has been an exceptional leader inside the Hurricanes environment and a loyal servant to New Zealand Rugby."

England takes on South Africa in its June Series, kicking off on June 9 in Johannesburg, with Tests in Bloemfontein and Cape Town to follow.

SQUAD

England June Series squad

Forwards

Tom Curry (Sale)

Ben Earl (Saracens)

Jonny Hill (Exeter)

Nick Isiekwe (Saracens)

Maro Itoje (Saracens)

Joe Launchbury (Wasps)

Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)

Brad Shields (Hurricanes/Wasps)

Sam Simmonds (Exeter)

Billy Vunipola (Saracens)

Jack Willis (Wasps)

Mark Wilson (Newcastle)

Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter)

Ellis Genge (Leicester)

Jamie George (Saracens)

Joe Marler (Harlequins)

Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)

Mako Vunipola (Saracens)

Harry Williams (Exeter)

Backs 

Mike Brown (Harlequins)

Elliot Daly (Wasps)

Nathan Earle (Saracens)

Jonny May (Leicester)

Denny Solomona (Sale)

Danny Cipriani (Wasps)

Owen Farrell (Saracens, capt)

George Ford (Leicester)

Alex Lozowski (Saracens)

Cameron Redpath (Sale)

Dan Robson (Wasps)

Henry Slade (Exeter)

Ben Spencer (Saracens)

Ben Te'o (Worcester),

Ben Youngs (Leicester)