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Former team-mate welcomes Cipriani back into England fold

Coach’s pick: Danny Cipriani returns after a decade out
Coach’s pick: Danny Cipriani returns after a decade out

By Duncan Bech

Nathan Hughes believes former Wasps team-mate Danny Cipriani is ready to mark his international return by orchestrating the end of England's losing run.

Eddie Jones' men conclude an unsuccessful tour of South Africa in Saturday's third and final Test at Newlands, having already surrendered the series and extended their winless streak to five matches.

England's head coach has reacted to events at Free State Stadium last weekend by selecting Cipriani at fly-half at the expense of George Ford in what will be the 30-year-old's first start since 2008.

Having fallen in and out of favour with a succession of Jones' predecessors, Cipriani has finally convinced the Australian that he is no longer the divisive figure once viewed as a disruptive influence.

And Hughes reckons England will profit from the presence of a player who rejected lucrative offers from France and Japan to keep his international dream alive.

"Danny is a world-class player," the Fijian-born Wasps number eight said.

"I've played with him for two years and before that I played against him.

"As an attacking player, he's very hard to defend against. He's a had a good week and a good camp and now he has the opportunity to start.

"We've been hanging around a lot together for the two years he's spent at Wasps. People say things about Danny but they're not true. If you spend time with him you learn that he has a lot of time for people and he wants to get to know you and how you're feeling. That's what I love about him.

"Danny never gave up on England and has worked really hard to get back in the team."

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