Twickenham - Danny
Cipriani's three years in the England wilderness came to an end when he
was recalled by coach Eddie Jones on Thursday for next month's tour of
The Wasps flyhalf, regarded as one of the most talented English
players of his generation, has not played for England since the build-up
to the 2015 World Cup - when Stuart Lancaster was the Red Rose coach.
Cipriani's stop-start international career has been interrupted by
injuries, while his occasionally colourful off-field lifestyle has not
endeared him to several England coaches.
But the 30-year-old has been in fine form for Wasps this season and
he now has the chance to add to a tally of 14 Tests caps, the first won
back in 2008, after convincing Australian coach Jones to include him in a
34-man squad for a three-Test series against the Springboks in June.
"I've picked him for the first time,"
said Jones of Cipriani. "I've watched him closely and he's looking
good. He deserves his opportunity.
"He's done a few things I've asked him to do."
Hurricanes captain Brad Shields, set to join Wasps, was one of seven
uncapped players in Jones's squad despite being midway through the Super
With regular skipper Dylan Hartley still recovering from concussion,
Saracens centre Owen Farrell has been appointed England captain for the
tour, while Danny Care, James Haskell and Dan Cole have been rested.
But Jones has selected several players who went on last summer's
British and Irish Lions tour, including the Saracens quartet of Farrell,
Maro Itoje, Mako Vunipola and Billy Vunipola, who is returning after
being out with a broken arm.
England head to South Africa following a miserable end to the Six
Nations when they lost successive matches to Scotland, France and Grand
Slam champions Ireland. England had only lost one previous match under
Jones since the former Wallaby and Japan boss took over following
England's first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup.
England have yet to win a series in South Africa, with their Test
last victory against the Springboks on South African soil coming in
Bloemfontein in 2000.
"Our tour to South Africa will be the most exciting challenge for us as a group since 2016," said Jones.
"We have an opportunity to create some history next month and win the
Test series, something no England side has done before," added Jones,
who was a consultant to head coach Jake White when South Africa won the
2007 World Cup, beating England in the final.
Although South Africa are
traditionally one of rugby union's strongest nations, the Springboks
suffered a woeful couple of seasons under former coach Allister Coetzee.
There is optimism, however, that new boss Rassie Erasmus can spark a revival ahead of next year's World Cup in Japan.
"We will need to be physically aggressive and tactically smart
against the Springboks who we know will be combative and reinvigorated
by their new coaching set-up," said Jones.
England's 34-man squad announced on Thursday for a three-Test tour of South Africa in June:
Mike Brown (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Nathan Earle (Saracens), Jonny May (Leicester) Denny Solomona (Sale), Danny Cipriani (Wasps), Owen Farrell (Saracens, capt), George Ford (Leicester), Alex Lozowski (Saracens), Cameron Redpath (Sale), Dan Robson (Wasps), Henry Slade (Exeter), Ben Spencer (Saracens), Ben Te'o (Worcester), Ben Youngs (Leicester)
Tom Curry (Sale), Ben Earl(Saracens), Jonny Hill (Exeter), Nick Isiekwe (Saracens), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Brad Shields (Hurricanes/Wasps), Sam Simmonds (Exeter), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Jack Willis (Wasps), Mark Wilson (Newcastle), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter), Ellis Genge (Leicester), Jamie George (Saracens), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter)
Fixtures (all 17:05 kick-off):
June 9: South Africa v England, 1st Test, Johannesburg
June 16: South Africa v England, 2nd Test, Bloemfontein
June 23: South Africa v England, 3rd Test, Cape Town