Sale Sharks winger Nev Edwards is surprised new England coach Eddie Jones opted to omit Danny Cipriani from his first Six Nations squad.
Jones had spoken of his desire to include players who expressed themselves and Cipriani – arguably England’s most flamboyant ten – seemed to fit that bill.
Edwards is a good friend of Cipriani’s from school and secured his first pro contract, aged 27, after trialling at Sale on the recommendation of the 14-times capped international.
Both men were influential as the Sharks overcame Pau and Newport Gwent Dragons to progress in the Challenge Cup, with Cipriani in particularly scintillating touch.
And the winger revealed that his teammate had been left disappointed by the decision, but was confident that the setback would lead to him striving even harder to win a place next time round.
“I was a bit surprised he didn’t make it, but that’s the way it goes sometimes in rugby,” he said.
“I think he was disappointed but he hasn’t let it get him down at all.
“Cips is a great running fly-half, he’s one of the best in the league. It’s awesome to play with him, he’s a great player and a good role model for the game.
“I know he’s really focused at the moment, he’s going to move on and keep playing well for Sale, and if a call up comes for him then I’m sure he’ll be more than ready.”
One Sale man who did make the cut was number eight Josh Beaumont, the 22-year-old son of England legend Bill.
Beaumont’s selection came at the expense of established performer Ben Morgan, and will be seen to justify the Sale youth set-up and the standard of rugby in the North.
Ex-England lock and Sunday Times columnist Paul Ackford described Sale as ‘not worth bothering about’ in terms of international selection in November – leading director of rugby Steve Diamond to blast the words as drivel from a dinosaur.
However, Jones has sent coach Steve Borthwick to watch the Sharks in recent weeks, and Beaumont’s inclusion will give hope to other stand-out youngsters such as Tommy Taylor and Mike Haley.
And Edwards said that he was confident that Beaumont was capable of making a big impact on the international scene.
“I think it’s awesome for Beau,” he said.
“Obviously this is my first season playing with him and I think he’s a really good player – a quality player and a really good leader. He’s got that special X factor.
“I’m really happy for him, and I think he’ll do well in that squad.”
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