Eddie Jones insists the exclusion of Danny Cipriani from England’s training squad reflects his place in the fly-half pecking order.
Despite being England’s starting playmaker in their most recent game against South Africa and producing an excellent opening to the season at Gloucester, Jones has omitted Cipriani from the 36-man group who will take part in a three-day training camp in Bristol starting on Sunday.
The 30-year-old was convicted of common assault and resisting arrest and fined a total of £4,000 following an incident outside a nightclub that took place during Gloucester’s pre-season tour to Jersey.
But Jones insists it is form and not that indiscretion that has shaped his thinking, with Owen Farrell and George Ford the two fly-halves called up.
“That’s the case, 100 per cent. We’ve decided just to have two stand-offs in the squad for this particular camp because we want them to get a lot of training time,” said Jones.
“At the moment we’ve got Owen and George, who I believe are the first two fly-halves, and then comes Danny.
“Danny’s probably third or fourth choice and he knows what he’s got to work on, which is between Danny and I.
“He’s disappointed but he understands. He’s desperate to play for England, which is terrific.”
Manu Tuilagi makes his first appearance in an England squad in over a year after overcoming a dreadful succession of injuries.
Serious groin and knee problems have prevented the nation’s most destructive three-quarter from making an international start since 2014, but he has started all three of Leicester’s games this season.
Danny’s probably third or fourth choice and he knows what he’s got to work on, which is between Danny and I. He’s disappointed but he understands. He’s desperate to play for England, which is terrific.England coach Eddie Jones
Included despite being midway through a seven-week ban for a tip tackle made during Sale’s pre-season victory at Castres is wing Chris Ashton.
Bath giant Joe Cokanasiga offers another wing option and scrum-half Danny Care is back.
England squad for three-day camp in Bristol – Forwards: T Curry (Sale), J George (Saracens), D Hartley (Northampton), N Hughes (Wasps), N Isiekwe (Saracens), M Itoje (Saracens), G Kruis (Saracens), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton), J Marler (Harlequins), Z Mercer (Bath), M Rhodes (Saracens), C Robshaw (Harlequins), N Schonert (Worcester), B Shields (Wasps), K Sinckler (Harlequins), B Vunipola (Saracens), M Vunipola (Saracens), H Williams (Exeter), M Wilson (Newcastle). Backs: C Ashton (Sale), M Brown (Harlequins), D Care (Harlequins), J Cokanasiga (Bath), E Daly (Wasps), N Earle (Harlequins), O Farrell (Saracens), G Ford (Leicester), A Lozowski (Saracens), J May (Leicester), J Nowell (Exeter), D Robson (Wasps), H Slade (Exeter), B Te’o (Worcester), M Tuilagi (Leicester), B Youngs (Leicester).