South Africa vs England: Danny Cipriani on mission to make No10 shirt his own on first Red Rose start in decade

DANNY CIPRIANI is on a mission to make the England No 10 shirt his own — a decade after his last Test start.

Red Rose boss Eddie Jones turned to the mercurial playmaker as he looks to save something from a lost series at Newlands tomorrow.

 Danny Cipriani has finally been handed another start by England

Getty Images
Danny Cipriani has finally been handed another start by England

Cipriani was ditched by Martin Johnson eight years ago and quit the country for Australia to escape the celebrity limelight after his relationship with glamour girl Kelly Brook ended.

But now finally back in favour at the expense of George Ford, fly-half Cips, 30, said: “I want to be in this team for as long as I possibly can.

“I’ve been in and out of it for a while. A lot of it to do with my own doing and sometimes down to different personalities — but I’ve persevered.

“When I was 20, everything just happened. It was like Premiership start, Heineken Cup, play for England. It was almost like that was how it was going to be.

 Eddie Jones has turned to the England playmaker for the third Test in South Africa

Getty Images
Eddie Jones has turned to the England playmaker for the third Test in South Africa
 Danny Cipriani trains ahead of his return to the England side

Getty Images
Danny Cipriani trains ahead of his return to the England side

“I guess when I broke my ankle it was like, ‘Ah, things aren’t going to go great’.

“Things didn’t go to plan and I just got an onslaught. And I was like, ‘Well, I kinda want to leave the country now for a bit and come back and start again’.

“My plan was always to come back and play for England. I’ve now got an opportunity to represent my country and get back to winning ways on Saturday.”

After a season Down Under with Melbourne Rebels, Cipriani headed back to the Premiership with Sale in 2012 before returning to first club Wasps.

Last month he signed for Gloucester for the start of the 2018-19 season.

Cipriani, a sad story of wasted talent, will win his 16th Red Rose cap against South Africa, the same side he made his last Test start against at Twickenham in 2008.

And no one will be prouder than his devoted mum, Anne, a black cab driver who has been knitting a new jumper for pet pug Rocky in celebration.

Cips said: “She’s excited and has been knitting a top for the dog, so I’ll let her enjoy that.

“It’s nice to have this opportunity but I am no different to how I was yesterday.

“No matter what position we are in, even if the series is lost, there are no dead rubber internationals.”

 Cipriani in action against South Africa ten years ago

Getty Images
Cipriani in action against South Africa ten years ago

Under-pressure Jones needs his Cipriani gamble to hit the jackpot after losing six games in a row. But the Aussie believes Cips can do for England what he did against his Saracens side in the late noughties.

Jones, who almost signed the Wasps prodigy, revealed: “I chatted to him about it and he remembered every bit and piece of how he won the game, which I thought was quite interesting.

“I believe he can add value to the team. All the other stuff hasn’t been in my domain.”

England will be missing Brad Shields for the Third Test after a bout of food poisoning.

Nick Isiekwe is also out after fracturing his hand in a wrestling session in training on Monday.

Veteran hooker Schalk Brits, 37, is on the Springboks’ bench.

Rugby star Danny Cipriani shows off some impressive football skills with rugby ball!

DANNY CIPRIANI is on a mission to make the England No 10 shirt his own — a decade after his last Test start.