Danny Cipriani would be welcome back in England fold, according to Alex Goode (From Messenger Newspapers)
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Danny Cipriani would be welcome back in England fold, according to Alex Goode
9:42am Wednesday 18th December 2013 in Sport
ALEX Goode insists he would welcome Danny Cipriani’s return to the England fold – as long as the fly-half’s new-found defensive intensity is here to stay.
Cipriani, now at Sale Sharks, ran in a try and was impressive throughout his side’s narrow defeat to Goode’s Saracens side at the end of last month.
The chief criticism of Cipriani has long been his reluctance to put his body on the line for the good of the team but the former Wasps star appears to have turned over a new leaf under Steve Diamond at Sale.
And Goode admits he was pleasantly surprised by Cipriani, who won seven caps back in 2008, although he will have to do a lot more if he is to oust Goode’s teammate Owen Farrell from the England No10 shirt.
“Danny played very well against us and I was impressed,” said Goode.
“Obviously it’s the case in every position but particularly at pivotal ones like 9 and 10, consistency is the key.
“Whether they are big games or small games, you have to play well every time you step out.
“And it seems that this season he is starting to do that, he used the wind very well against us in the first half and kept us penned in.
“Second half he did not have as much ball but he defended very well which is very important, that has always been the knock on him, rightly or wrongly.
“But if he can keep those performances up then he will be back there or thereabouts.
“Owen is playing very well, he’s leading the team and leading England very well,
“He’s doing a fantastic job and it is going to take someone doing something pretty special to take that off his hands.
“But Stuart will let anyone who is playing well have their chance and obviously that is how it should be.”
Goode was involved in a mixed autumn campaign that saw England claim patchy but important wins over Australia and Argentina before falling at the hands of the all-conquering All Blacks.
Stuart Lancaster’s side, with Goode at full-back, beat New Zealand last autumn but the Sarries ace was on the bench for the defeat this time around.
And Goode is confident that despite the reversal, England are very much a team on the up in what is still the early part of the season.
“If you look at it as a whole, to beat Argentina and to be beat Australia with good performances in either half is something we are happy with,” he added.
“And to be honest I thought it was a very good performance against New Zealand but you have to remember this is the end of their season.
“They know what they are trying to achieve and how they are trying to get there, this was only our third game of the season.
“We are still putting things into place with a relatively new and young squad.
“I don’t think on reflection we are too disappointed with that, it’s just small errors that cost us and we can build on that and take it into the Six Nations.
“Compared to last year when we lost to South Africa and Australia it’s a massive improvement and we will go into the Six Nations high on confidence and in good form.”
Alex Goode was speaking on behalf of Official Community Partner of the RFU, SSE, who is giving English rugby clubs the opportunity to win a £10,000 portable floodlight. To enter go to www.SSERugby.com