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Cipriani: Me and Owen Farrell are more similar than you’d think

The Gloucester and Saracens players clash at Allianz Park on Saturday.

Sale Sharks’ Danny Cipriani is tacked by Saracens’ Maka Vunipola (right) and Owen Farrell (left) during the Pool One match of the European Rugby Champions Cup at the AJ Bell Stadium, Eccles.
Sale Sharks’ Danny Cipriani is tacked by Saracens’ Maka Vunipola (right) and Owen Farrell (left) during the Pool One match of the European Rugby Champions Cup at the AJ Bell Stadium, Eccles.

Danny Cipriani insists he is cut from the same cloth as Owen Farrell as the contenders for the role of England’s playmaker-in-chief prepare to renew their rivalry.

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Cipriani takes his Gloucester team to Allianz Park on Saturday to face European champions Saracens, with the winners progressing to the Gallagher Premiership final at Twickenham a week later.

Farrell is England’s first choice fly-half but Cipriani’s outstanding form at Kingsholm has been recognised with two coveted individual awards, renewing calls for Eddie Jones to explain why he is repeatedly overlooked.

It is one of several fascinating key battles that will decide the play-off semi-final, but the apparent frosty nature of their relationship helps elevate their duel to top of the bill.

“People make a thing about the characters of me and Owen, but I get on really well with him. A lot of sportsman have very similar DNA,” Cipriani said.

“With my non-selection by England, people want to find a reason why, but in that moment it might not be what the coach feels. You have to accept that.

“It is down to you to do everything you can to get picked. Over the last five or six years nothing has stopped me from ascending that way.

It is down to you to do everything you can to get picked. Over the last five or six years nothing has stopped me from ascending that way. Danny Cipriani

“Owen’s a very diligent athlete in the way he looks at things and drives things. He is meticulous.

“He’s unbelievably competitive. He’s extremely talented. The timing of his pass and the way he runs a team. And can see the aura he has.

“Players buy into that. There are loads of different ways of leading and you can see that. He does it unbelievably effectively.

“You learn from all the people around you. There are lots of different types of characters in my life and you can learn from all of them.”

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Cipriani insists he has no problem with Farrell (David Davies/PA)

Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann has entrusted Cipriani with running the attack and the club have benefited as a result.

It was a level of responsibility the 31-year-old half-back had to seize for himself during a two-year spell at Wasps that ended last summer.

“A lot of fly-halves want to run attacks and run shapes. Before I went to Wasps, that’s what (director of rugby) Dai Young said he wanted me to do,” Cipriani said.

“I went there and did it and it probably wasn’t necessarily exactly the way he wanted it, but I did it anyway!

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Cipriani’s two-year spell at Wasps ended last summer (Mike Egerton/PA)

“I felt it was the best thing for the club and the players – and we had a successful two years.

“I had a great chat with Dai recently and he texted me, ‘thank you and congratulations for winning the award the other week’.

“It doesn’t mean there’s a conflict between us, we both learn from that and we spoke about it.”

PA

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