Danny Cipriani 'baggage' does not concern England coach Eddie Jones

The 6ft 7in former Ludlow School pupil, who started at local club Luctonians at the age of nine, has previously played for England Under-20s.

Shields, who qualifies via his English-born parents and will join Wasps next season, is one of eight uncapped players in a 34-man squad including Sedbergh School centre Cam Redpath, 18, whose shock call-up was exclusively revealed by the Express yesterday.

In the past, Jones has hinted at misgivings about the fly-half's ability to do just that, but his stance has shifted in the face of overwhelming evidence about Cipriani's credentials as a game-changer.

"Brad is a good, hard-working player who plays for the best team in the southern hemisphere", said Jones.

As their expected resurgence begins under Rassie Erasmus' tutelage, England head over with a young squad missing a number of frontline players.

"No England side has won a series in South Africa, where there's a win percentage of 23 per cent, so there's a mountain to climb".

Under-pressure England rugby coach Eddie Jones has bemoaned the selfish attitude of sport in his adopted country and admitted cracks have appeared in his team's unity. When you lose there are always one or two who get up the back and say, "Well, it's not my fault as I've done my job and the other blokes need to do it better".

Owen Farrell has been confirmed as captain in Dylan Hartley's injury-enforced absence and Billy Vunipola makes a return, having missed the Six Nations, while Jones has rested a number of senior players in what is his most radical squad selection to date following a run of three straight defeats.

Jones had previously stated Cipriani could only be included in a squad as a first choice fly-half but said: 'Life is full of contradictions. He's definitely got a creative talent and we don't want to annul that, but he has to understand there's a team and he has to play within that team.

"We have taken some time to carefully work through the complexities of this request‚ to ensure that we gave appropriate consideration to his specific circumstances‚" NZR head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum said.

Shields was given an early release by New Zealand Rugby (NZR) to play for England although the Kiwi officials did scold The Rugby Football Union (RFU) for the way they pursued the abrasive flank.

Cipriani's last Test for England came nearly three years ago, and Jones explained the 14-cap man has made changes to his game that have earned him a recall. My responsibility is to pick England-qualified players. Asked about picking a player not deemed good enough for the All Blacks, Jones said: 'I'm not anxious about what the All Blacks do.

"[Shields is a] good, hard working player", said Jones.

"In English rugby in particular the key for the captain is to get unity because it is a sporting environment here that is based around selfishness".

Vanessa Coleman

Comments