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Diamond wants Cipriani on back page

Danny Cipriani has been urged to start making headlines on the back pages rather than celebrity columns after being selected in a Sale squad for the first time this season.

Cipriani features on the bench for Friday night's Aviva Premiership clash with Wasps at the AJ Bell Stadium and is expected to play some part in the game.

Speculation had mounted that Cipriani's future at the Sharks was in doubt after he was omitted from the matchday 23 against Gloucester and Newcastle and banished to the club's second string.

But Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond has recalled the 25-year-old former England fly-half against Wasps - and hopes he grabs attention for his exploits on the pitch rather than off it.

"Danny's a game changer and if we need that skill set from the bench then we've got him in place," Diamond said.

"He's knuckled down in training, he's bided his time even though he's not been selected and he's been positive and you can't ask for anything else from him.

"When it comes to Danny, I've coined the phrase 'let's see him on the back pages, not the front pages'.

"He's knuckled down and what goes on in his private life is up to him, though I do think things were sensationalised over the summer.

"But he's kept a low profile at work, he's trained hard and has looked forward to getting a chance. When that comes, hopefully he'll take it.

"He's a brilliant player and with the possession we've been getting so far this season, hopefully he can convert some of that."

Cipriani's return, albeit only to the bench, follows Sale's 15-14 home defeat to Newcastle last Friday, a loss that sees Ross Harrison, Tommy Taylor, Kirill Kulemin and Robert Miller promoted to the starting XV.

Wasps are still searching for their first win of the season after coming up short against Harlequins and Exeter.

Former England lock Tom Palmer has an arm injury so Kearnan Myall will make his debut against his former club.

London rivals Harlequins have fared marginally better having narrowly beaten Wasps and lost to fellow title contenders Northampton, but they travel to Worcester on Friday night with several injury concerns.

Jordan Turner-Hall, Paul Doran Jones and Joe Gray have joined Charlie Matthews, Nick Kennedy, Sam Twomey, Ross Chisholm and Ollie Lindsay-Hague in the treatment room.

Turner-Hall is seeing a specialist over a hip problem that may require surgery, Jones should only be out for a week with a knock sustained against Saints, but Gray is sidelined for two months because of a knee problem.

Worcester, who give a first start of the season to flanker Jake Abbott, are still seeking their first victory of the season, but director of rugby Dean Ryan believes it is coming.

"I don't think we're a million miles off getting a win and, at some stage, someone's going to get bumped and we're going to gain confidence," Ryan said.


From Belfast Telegraph