Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Cipriani focus is on Sale not England

Danny Cipriani is focused on re-establishing himself in the Aviva Premiership with Sale
Danny Cipriani is focused on re-establishing himself in the Aviva Premiership with Sale

Sale Sharks new boy Danny Cipriani is content for his goal of an England recall to be a "long-term" aim for the time being as he focuses on re-establishing himself in the Aviva Premiership.

Cipriani is back in the English top-flight two years after leaving Wasps for Australian outfit Melbourne Rebels. Having signed a three-year deal with Sale in March, the 24-year-old has made clear his desire to get back into the senior England set-up and add to his seven international caps, the last of which came in 2008.

Asked about his hopes of regaining an England spot at Friday's "Sharks in the City" open training session and kit launch, Cipriani told Press Association Sport: "It is a long-term goal of mine. People have heard me talk about that, but in terms of what I'm about now, it is coming back and just getting into the Sale side and making sure we start the season well."

He added: "You can't let the season slip away from you and it is important that we get off to a flier."

Cipriani, who fell out of favour when Martin Johnson was in charge of England, feels the team are making encouraging progress under his successor Stuart Lancaster and the fly-half insists he has not let his absence from the international scene get him down.

"You can be frustrated with the gap I've had, but it is just part and parcel of what has happened over these last few years," Cipriani - not included in the latest England senior or Saxons squads announced earlier this month - said.

"You can't really cry over spilt milk so you just have to get on with it. I'm back now and I'm just looking forward to starting this season the best I can. That is the main thing and then we will just see what happens from there."

Cipriani rates his time in Australia as a success, something he is looking for more of with Sale, who he regards as a club on the up and capable of making the top four in 2012-13.

The north-west side - who will now be playing home games at a new stadium in a groundshare with rugby league neighbours Salford City Reds - have undergone something of a revolution in recent times with Steve Diamond at the helm and Cipriani admits the Sharks chief executive was a major factor in his decision to join.

"Steve Diamond was a big influence in why I came to Sale," Cipriani said. "He sold the club very well to me, showed how they are moving forward, the improvements they have made and where they are going to keep going."

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