Leinster will take on Wasps in the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup on April 1st, and ahead of the game Wasps boss Dai Young has played down any Lions selection subplot between out-half Danny Cipriani and his Leinster counterpart Johnny Sexton.
The English Premiership side’s director of rugby insists that he has full confidence in Cipriani to park any British and Irish Lions ambitions he may have and focus on Wasps’ Champions Cup clash with Leinster at the weekend.
Reported by ITV Sport, Young was clear:
“The last thing from our point of view that we’re going to turn this into is a Danny Cipriani versus Johnny Sexton competition.
“I’m sure Danny will want to be playing rugby somewhere in the summer, but he’s no different from anybody else.
“Every game is a chance for people to state their Lions case, but for us it’s solely about making sure we play our game.
“All the side-plots are for after the game.”
With Sexton challenging for the Lions No. 10 jersey, Young believes Cipriani’s best way to impress Warren Gatland is to ensure he is playing for as long as possible into competitions.
“From our point of view, players that want to progress and play rugby in the summer, the longer we’re in competitions, the more chance they’ve got of forcing their way in.
“Danny’s one of 15 players – he’s a quality player, we all know that – but they’ve got a number of quality players too.
“In fairness to Danny, he’s really led us well this season and I don’t expect him to do any different this weekend.
“And I’d like think his full focus really is doing well for Wasps. He knows if he does well for Wasps, and Wasps do well, that can help his ambitions both on the big tour, or if you don’t get on that, obviously I’m sure he’ll want to get on the England tour to Argentina.”
Having not been part of England’s successful Six Nations campaign, Cipriani faces a stiff battle to impress his Lions credentials upon Gatland.
With Sexton, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Finn Russell and Dan Biggar all likely ahead of him in the pecking order for a place in the 37-man squad, Cipriani may have to settle for targeting a place on Eddie Jones’ squad for England’s summer tour of Argentina.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena