Austin Healey has called on England to end the Test exile of Danny Cipriani after the fly-half was named the Premiership’s player of the month for March.
Cipriani’s form has helped guide unheralded Sale to the brink of the play-off and led to calls he be included for England’s tour of New Zealand in June.
The 26-year-old was once the rising star of English rugby but won the last of his seven caps back in 2008, a combination of injuries and concerns about his ‘celebrity’ lifestyle off the pitch seeing him sidelined.
But a year out from the 2015 World Cup in England, former Red Rose back Healey said on Wednesday that now was the time for the national team management to bring Cipriani back in from the cold.
“The fortunes and abilities of Danny and Sale seem to have run in tandem over the past 18 months and the comparisons are no coincidence,” said Healey, who won 51 caps between 1997-2003.
“He has successfully transformed his game from a reckless talent to an influential and controlling number 10 and now warrant serious consideration for further honours.
“Danny has always had a maverick inside waiting to break out at any stage, which he still has.
“A maverick playing within a structured game plan is very dangerous,” said Healey, who often performed that role for both Leicester and England.
Owen Farrell is England’s first choice fly-half with George Ford providing bench cover during the recent Six Nations Championship, where Stuart Lancaster’s men finished runners-up to champions Ireland.
England will be missing their Premiership finalists for the first Test against the world champion All Blacks on June 7 and also play a midweek game against the Crusaders – a schedule that could create an opening for Cipriani.