Fly-half Danny Cipriani looks set to miss England’s Six Nations opener at home to Italy on Saturday after being named on Monday in the team for Friday’s match between England Saxons and Ireland ‘A’ at Donnybrook in Dublin.
The gifted but inconsistent 21-year-old outside-half played the first three of England’s November internationals only a month after returning to action following the right ankle fracture/dislocation he suffered in May. But, perhaps understandably given his long lay-off, he wasn’t at his best and he suffered from seeing charged-down kicks lead to opposition tries.
Toby Flood, who replaced Cipriani for England’s most recent international, against New Zealand, has been struggling with a calf strain but he is now expected to start at Twickenham this weekend.
However, on Jan. 15 England manager Martin Johnson asked experienced Brive stand-off Andy Goode, Flood’s Leicester predecessor and a player renowned for the quality of his kicking game, to train with the England squad at their warm-weather camp in Portugal.
Goode was formally added to England’s Six Nations squad on Monday while Gloucester’s James Simpson-Daniel was called up as cover for Harlequins wing Ugo Monye (sore back) and Saracens front-row Tom Mercey added as back-up for Wasps’ Tim Payne (abdominal muscles).
Cipriani, capped seven times by England, and Leicester scrum-half Harry Ellis are among eight capped players named in the Saxons squad, as the national A side is now known.
Johnson was due to name his 22 to play Italy, for what will be his first Six Nations match as manager, yesterday.
Revised England squad
• Backs: Delon Armitage (London Irish), Danny Care (Harlequins), Danny Cipriani (Wasps), Mark Cueto (Sale), Harry Ellis (Leicester), Toby Flood (Leicester), Ben Foden (Northampton), Riki Flutey (Wasps), Andy Goode (Brive/FRA), Shane Geraghty (London Irish), Ugo Monye (Harlequins), Olly Morgan (Gloucester), Jamie Noon (Newcastle), Paul Sackey (Wasps), James Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester), Mathew Tait (Sale), Mike Tindall (Gloucester)
• Forwards: Steffon Armitage (London Irish), Steve Borthwick (Saracens), George Chuter (Leicester), Tom Croft (Leicester), Nick Easter (Harlequins), Dylan Hartley (Northampton), James Haskell (Wasps), Nick Kennedy (London Irish), Lee Mears (Bath), Tom Mercey (Saracens), Luke Narraway (Gloucester), Tom Palmer (Wasps), Tim Payne (Wasps), Joe Worsley (Wasps), Simon Shaw (Wasps), Andrew Sheridan (Sale), Julian White (Leicester), Phil Vickery (Wasps).