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 tonight’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 his future with 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 stand-off 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.