RUGBY: Bath's Ford impresses Cipriani

Danny Cipriani

George Ford, of Bath

First published in Sport

FEW 21-year-old fly-halves could claim to bring the same level of composure that George Ford does to Bath.

Danny Cipriani, however, certainly knows what it is like to marshal a team at such an age, and he believes his England rival is the perfect fit for international rugby.

Cipriani is being discussed as a potential England recall for the tour to New Zealand next month following his return to form with Sale Sharks this season.

His first appearance for the Red Rose was as a mercurial 20-year-old, having notched 18 points in a debut of unlimited promise against Ireland.

Injuries, off-the-field indiscretions, and a move to Australia have brought his international career to a juddering halt since then but a matured Cipriani has filed his past away this year.

And he sees the same type of seasoned confidence in Ford, who in his first year at The Rec had Bath’s sights trained on the Aviva Premiership playoffs before falling agonisingly short.

“He started the season off great, he’s got a good coaching structure there and good players around him,” said Cipriani.

“He’s had a very good year, and every part of the game you need to have to progress onto the international stage.

“I think he’s just going to keep doing so and it’s big for him to get into these (Premiership) semis and progress, because these are the crutch games and he’s shown he can do that.”

Between Cipriani, Ford and current incumbent Owen Farrell – not to mention Northampton’s Stephen Myler – England boast a trove of talented 10s for Stuart Lancaster to stew over.

And though he and Ford may have to be patient in waiting for their turn, Cipriani believes no starter can rest on their laurels under Lancaster’s regime.

“What Stuart wants is competition in all positions, if you look at the squad at the moment it’s competition from 1 to 15,” he added.

“There’s lots of it, you’ve got (full-back) Mike Brown as standout player in England and in the world, but he’s also got Ben Foden and Alex Goode who’ve been pushing him as well.

“Mike Brown fully deserves his place but he’s got two people saying ‘look, we’re here as well’, and that’s been the position which has consistently been the best.

“So it shows the type of management and player that England want and try to provide.”

Danny Cipriani was speaking at the launch of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Policy. Sign up for exclusive access to interviews and competitions at premiershiprugby.com/avivarugbypolicy

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