I would’ve had to turn water into wine to sway Jones – Cipriani

Cipriani started at fly-half in England’s 25-10 win over South Africa in June 2018, but has not appeared since

Danny Cipriani claims he would have had to “turn water into wine” to convince England coach Eddie Jones to include him in his Rugby World Cup squad.

Fly-half Cipriani, 31, was part of pre-tournament training camps but was dropped before the final 31-man selection was made.

Jones instead opted for Owen Farrell and George Ford as his fly-half options

“Going into a big competition I would’ve had to turn water into wine to really sway him,” said Cipriani.

Despite being named as the Premiership’s player of the season for his performances with Gloucester last term, Cipriani has only made two international appearances since Jones took charge at the start of 2016.

Asked if he had a fair chance to press his case for World Cup selection, Cipriani said: “What is a fair crack of the whip? I can’t go in there demanding any time.

“Eddie is in a high-pressure situation being England coach and he has done a great job.

“He has put his faith in George Ford and Owen Farrell and they have done well for him.

“I can completely understand why he made his decision. Do I think it was the right decision? I don’t know. I am going to support England and hope they do great.”

Cipriani made his first England start as a 20-year-old, picked ahead of Jonny Wilkinson in the 33-10 win over Ireland in March 2008.

However, he has made just four more since with personality clashes, moves abroad and off-field problems all limiting his chances.

‘It was almost like I’d died’

Hartley was appointed captain by Jones in January 2016

Former England captain Dylan Hartley says the reaction to his omission from Jones’ final squad was as if he had died.

The 33-year-old hooker, who won his 97th and most recent cap against Australia in November, has not played since suffering a knee injury playing for Northampton a month later.

“When the World Cup squad was announced, it was almost like I’d died – friends getting in touch and seeing if I was OK,” he said.

“For four years we have talked about winning the World Cup with Eddie, and I have led that group, been a part of that journey, so to fall at the final hurdle… I don’t know the feeling.

“I wake up most nights thinking about it. It doesn’t sit well with me, but I have come to terms with it. You have to crack on.”

Hartley added that he aggravated his left knee injury by trying to rush back to fitness.

“I tried an approach with my knee, a very aggressive approach, because I was given some deadlines to meet, and the aggressive approach did not work,” he said.

“I basically ended up in a worse position for trying to come back too early. Ever since that happened, I knew I wasn’t going to make the [World Cup] deadline.

“It was around the start of the camps, when they first got together around the start of July. I tried getting back for that and basically put myself in a bit of a hole physically and mentally.”

However, Hartley promised that if his team-mates do lift the William Webb Ellis trophy without him, he will gate-crash the celebrations.

“I hope they go and win. I’ll get on and be a glory supporter – remember me guys?” he added

“I’ll be hanging off the side of the open-top bus, in my 97th appearance shirt.”

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