Danny Cipriani made a triumphant return to the starting line-up in South Africa, having not started in a Test for England since 2008.
Feeling that something needed to change after throwing away leads in England’s losing efforts in the first two Tests of this series, Eddie Jones gave a rare starting berth to the Gloucester player.
Leading 15 points to 10 with ten minutes left in today’s third Test after South Africa gifted penalties hand over foot in a reversal of fortunes, England were on the offensive.
Cipriani anticipated the run of an onrushing Jonny May, and kicked the ball deep to the right side of the hosts’ try area for the impressive Leicester Tigers winger to chase.
— Sky Sports Rugby Union (@SkySportsRugby) June 23, 2018
The 25-10 win salvaged some pride for the visitors, and Cipriani’s joy was clear to see in speaking afterwards to Sky Sports.
“I’m a proud Englishman. It was amazing to be back out with the boys,” he told Gail Davis after the win.
“Obviously, it wasn’t ideal conditions for anyone but we had to stick to our guns, stick to our plan, and make sure we come out with the ‘W’,” he added.
“I did everything I could within my power. There’s definitely things I could have done better in that game, and I’ll have a look at it. But it’s now time to enjoy five weeks off in the off-season and make sure you don’t get too fat! I’m just proud to be out here wearing an England shirt.”
On setting up the sole English try, Cipriani put it down to ‘instinct’, and heaped all the praise on recipient Jonny May, who won Sky’s ‘man of the match’.
“It’s not so much about realising it [the opportunity for the try], it’s more an instinct”, he said.
“Luckily, there’s probably one winger in the world that could have scored that, and that was Jonny. He’s shown throughout this series that he’s absolutely rapid so you know how much you can push the boundaries with him.
“And he’s always asking for extra work in training for those types of kicks. When you’ve got a winger who’s that hungry, it’s all on him.”