HEAD COACH Stuart Lancaster noted Danny Cipriani’s transformation into a big-game player after watching the Sale fly-half orchestrate England’s 73-12 demolition of the Barbarians.
Cipriani plundered two tries, completed all 10 conversions and kicked a penalty to finish with a 33-point haul in a flawless afternoon that improved his chances of making the final World Cup squad.
The 27-year-old ended the non-cap international at Twickenham at full-back and produced a classy finish to score the final try of the match.
“Danny was good and is a good enough player to apply the shape and organisation we’re trying to create in attack,” Lancaster said.
“To kick 11 out of 11 is excellent. He has learned a lot about discipline from Sale this year, so he has been a lot more controlled and composed in games.
“He understands the mechanics of what it takes to win big games because I’ve seen him do it for Sale, so he has definitely improved through the course of the season.
“He played a lot at full-back four or five years ago and that versatility is certainly something we would consider further down the line as we get towards naming our World Cup squad, but it is a pretty competitive position fly-half, as is full-back.”
Northampton-bound prop Kieran Brookes also excelled as England ran in 10 tries against feeble opposition.
The tight-head now faces a gruelling summer of conditioning work in order to shape him into a player capable of edging either Dan Cole or David Wilson for a spot in the final 31-man World Cup squad.
Owen Farrell has escaped a citing for his high tackle on England colleague Anthony Watson during Saturday’s Aviva Premiership final. Farrell, the Saracens fly-half, flattened Bath full-back Watson in the second minute of his team’s 28-16 victory at Twickenham but referee Wayne Barnes opted against issuing a card.
Bordeaux-Begles fly-half Pierre Bernard dropped a goal with the final kick of yesterday’s Champions Cup play-off to secure a 23-22 victory over Gloucester for the French Top 14 club at Sixways.