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Lancaster hails Cipriani display

Stuart Lancaster noted Danny Cipriani's transformation into a big-game player after watching the Sale fly-half orchestrate England's 73-12 demolition of the Barbarians.

Cipriani plundered two tries, completed all 10 conversions and kicked a penalty to finish with a 33-point haul in a flawless afternoon that improved his chances of making the final World Cup squad.

The 27-year-old finished the non-cap international at Twickenham at full-back and produced a classy finish to score the final try of the match.

"Danny was good and is a good enough player to apply the shape and organisation we're trying to create in attack," head coach Lancaster said.

"To kick 11 out of 11 is excellent. He has learned a lot about discipline from Sale this year, so he has been a lot more controlled and composed in games.

"He understands the mechanics of what it takes to win big games because I've seen him do it for Sale, so he has definitely improved through the course of the season.

"He played a lot at full-back four or five years ago and that versatility is certainly something we would consider further down the line as we get towards naming our World Cup squad, but it is a pretty competitive position fly-half, as is full-back."

Lancaster also paid a glowing tribute to Northampton-bound prop Kieran Brookes, who excelled as England ran in 10 tries against feeble opposition.

The tight-head now faces a gruelling summer of conditioning work in order to shape him into a player capable of edging either Dan Cole or David Wilson for a spot in the final 31-man World Cup squad.

"Kieran was the standout forward for me. He's just going to get better and better," Lancaster said.

"We'll be working hard on getting him in the right condition because I thought his ability to play there for 60 minutes in that intensity and at that speed was excellent.

"He was definitely a contributor in two of the tries in the first half and he's a phenomenal scrummager.

"If you can build that ball-handling ability he's got and his scrummaging power, then I think he's a huge prospect for us.

"It's going to make that tight-head position very competitive as Dan Cole and Davey Wilson are good players."

The only disappointment of the afternoon was the small 34,667 crowd that turned up to watch England run riot in the first of four outings before the World Cup opens against Fiji at Twickenham on September 18.

"We're delighted with the scoreline. People might turn around and say the Barbarians didn't play well but equally I thought we played some excellent rugby," Lancaster said.

Barbarians coach Robbie Deans was impressed by Cipriani's performance.

"Danny was great, he would have loved that ride but he directed it really well," the former Australia coach said.

"Doing 100 per cent off the boot won't do him any harm either because this is the cauldron England will be playing in at the World Cup."


From Belfast Telegraph