They will not be nurtured and encouraged — they have to take the initiative and force the coach’s hand.
Wasps confirmed on Tuesday that Cipriani will join them from Sale in the summer, having rejected what is understood to have been a lucrative offer to join European champions Toulon.
The 28-year-old fly-half missed out on World Cup selection and, more recently, Jones’s Six Nations squad. But he remains determined to add to his 14 caps and didn’t want to go abroad, which would have ended his hopes.
Cipriani has been in consistently outstanding, match-winning form for Sale but Jones has so far opted to retain only two specialist No 10s — George Ford and Owen Farrell. Cipriani has publicly expressed his England ambitions, but the head coach needs more convincing.
Jones said: ‘He’s just got to play well. There’s no use talking to the press about it. You have to play like a Test player. You have to dominate club rugby, show all the skills of a Test player. You can’t talk to the media about being a Test player, you have to prove it.
‘He’s not good enough to be in the squad at the moment. We have two outstanding 10s in Farrell and Ford. To beat those two he has a long way to go, but he’s a capable player. It’s a matter of how hard he wants to work at his game.’
There is an apparent club- country divide on this issue. Sale are unhappy to be losing Cipriani and Wasps, who yesterday dismissed reports of a record-breaking bid for Australia flanker David Pocock as ‘rubbish’, are delighted to be acquiring his services.
Their director of rugby, Dai Young, believes he can revive his international career, which is such a personal priority.
‘Of course that is his goal otherwise he would be going to France,’ said the Welshman. ‘He hasn’t given up on England and that’s why he was so keen to stay in the Premiership. He’s certainly in the mix. Danny has to keep playing the way he’s been playing this season and I’m sure he will get another opportunity at some point.’
However, Jones is not about to go out of his way to soothe or reassure players who have been overlooked. Asked what he could do to keep those on the fringes interested, he was incredulous, saying: ‘They have to keep me interested. I don’t have to keep them interested.
‘Why should I keep them interested? They want to play for England so they should keep me interested. I’m serious. Their game has to be so outstanding that I am saying, “Goodness me, I’ve got to get that guy in the squad”. If they are not doing that, they’re not doing enough.
‘It’s up to the players. If they want to play Test rugby, they have to work out what they have to do. This isn’t a kindergarten class. If you want to play Test rugby, you have to work hard to do it yourself. We’ll give them all the guidance they need, but they’ve got to do it.’
Since the World Cup, England’s first-choice fly-half, Ford, has been struggling in a losing Bath team and is evidently still seeking a return to his best form. But Jones is adopting a supportive stance in his case, saying: ‘You have to show some belief and back them.
‘George is 22, but he looks 15. He’s 22 and he has played 19 Tests. He’s just finding his feet. He’ll be at his best when he’s 25 or 26. He’s got talent, an exceptional pass, good vision and a good kicking game. The consistency of a Test 10 is not going to come at 23, it’s going to come later down the track.
‘George is a master player in progress. He will have ups and downs. Jonny Wilkinson had his first game at 18 and soon after got beaten 76-0. If you watched him in that game, you’d never pick him again.’ – Daily Mail
Original source: Jones warns England hopefuls