England head coach Eddie Jones says Danny Cipriani must prove he is the best fly-half in England if he is to win an international recall.
Cipriani was left out of the England squad on Friday, with Saracens’ Alex Lozowski among those selected instead.
“Of course he has got the option of playing under me,” said Jones.
“When he plays well enough to be number one he’ll be in the squad. I don’t see him as a player who comes into a squad as a number three or four player.”
Jones added: “To me he is not that sort of player, he likes to be the main man.”
When asked if that means Cipriani has to outplay the likes of George Ford and Owen Farrell before he is considered Jones replied: “100%.
“Cipriani is an excellent player, he has done well for Wasps, and he could come back into it if he keeps playing really well.”
Jones waiting on Farrell and Hartley
Asked when goalkicker Farrell and captain Dylan Hartley, who are both battling back injuries, would be fit, Jones replied: “We don’t know, that’s the truth.
“But we are hopeful they are both going to be right and ready to go, Dylan probably more so than Owen, but we will wait and see. Both are excellent players and we will give them plenty of time to get right.”
Lozowski, the 23-year-old who moved to Saracens from Wasps in the summer, has been called into the squad for the first time and could come into the mix if Farrell fails to recover from his lingering back problem.
“You never like to lose your best players, but if the opportunity happened that Owen wasn’t playing, then it gives a great opportunity for George [Ford] to step up to be the main goalkicker and then guys like [Henry] Slade and possibly [Alex] Lozowski to come into the squad and show what they are worth,” Jones continued.
Slade and Worcester’s Ben Te’o would then compete at inside-centre if Farrell is unavailable.
“We need a ball-playing 12 and a running 12,” Jones added.
“Ideally we want a player who can do both, but unfortunately they are not around. They are scarce as hen’s teeth – in the last 15 years the only player we have seen do that is Ma’a Nonu.
“We are more into having either a ball-player or a ball-runner. We have guys like Slade or Te’o who can fit that bill.”
Lozowski selection ‘not about Italy’
Jones also denied that interest from Italy had anything to do with the surprise elevation of Lozowski, who qualifies for the Azzurri through his grandmother.
“No, not at all. If he wants to go to Italy, he goes to Italy and enjoys the pasta,” Jones said.
“But he is committed to play for England which is why I picked him in the squad.”
Lozowski is part of the 45-man Elite Player Squad, but hasn’t made the cut for the 37-man training squad for a camp in Brighton next week.
“At the moment he is our fourth choice stand-off,” Jones explained. “We are not taking four stand-offs to Brighton.”
No spot waiting for Tuilagi
Jones says he will not keep a space open for Manu Tuilagi, who has experienced another injury setback.
The powerful Leicester centre will miss the autumn series with a groin problem, and has not started a match for England in more than two years.
“I can guarantee you we are not waiting for him,” Jones said.
“All we are worried about is picking the best players when they are available and when they are fit.
“But having spoken to him yesterday I’m pretty positive he is on his way back and will be available sooner rather than later.”
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/37522775