McGeechan opens door to Cipriani

Danny Cipriani could be part of the British and Irish Lions squad to tour South Africa even if he does not regain his England place.

Danny Cipriani could be part of the British and Irish Lions squad to tour South Africa even if he does not regain his England place.

That is the view of Lions head coach Ian McGeechan who, in his other role as Wasps director of rugby, was delighted to see Cipriani kick 21 points in their 36-29 Guinness Premiership victory over Leicester last night.

“No doors are closed,” said McGeechan, adding he will be “very surprised” if the 21-year-old stand-off is not back in the England set-up before the end of the RBS 6 Nations.

Cipriani, who kicked five out of six penalties and converted all three of Wasps’ tries, was dropped by England team manager Martin Johnson after the November defeats to Australia and South Africa.

Those caps, though, came after he had returned to action sooner than it was feared would be the case following a serious dislocation and fracture of his right ankle.

“I think you’ve got to be careful not to underestimate tbh size of that injury,” added McGeechan. “Maybe some expectations were higher than they should have been.

“Now he is starting to shape up again. He’s been good in training this week and he was good yesterday.

“I’m very pleased. He put a lot into that and he was pretty physical – he put himself on the front line and the players appreciate that.

“He will always do things that lift a team.”

Anxious to keep Cipriani playing for Wasps for a while longer, though, McGeechan joked: “I’ll suggest to Jonno he probably needs three or four more games with us!”

Wasps have now beaten Leicester four times in a row. That includes last year’s Premiership final, but the two giants of the English game stand ninth and sixth respectively in the current table.

Leicester did at least head home with two bonus points, achieved in injury time when they scored a converted fourth try, but by losing they failed to move above Harlequins.

Wasps had reason to be disappointed as well. They went over for their third try early in the second-half, but could not manage another for the extra point.

In their position – and, unlike Leicester, no Heineken Cup quarter-final to look forward to – they need as many as they can muster.

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