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Rugby Union - London Wasps v Gloucester Rugby Guinness Premiership - Adams Park - 4/5/08 Danny Cipriani of London Wasps is tackled by Mike Tindall of Gloucester Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Henry Browne
Rugby Union - London Wasps v Gloucester Rugby Guinness Premiership - Adams Park - 4/5/08 
Danny Cipriani of London Wasps is tackled by Mike Tindall of Gloucester 
Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Henry Browne

Cipriani focused on Wasps return

An October return No 10 hopes to earn a recall to England after ankle injury Paul Radley Danny Cipriani's injury enforced absence from the summer tour of New Zealand may have been a blessing in disguise for one of English rugby's brightest young talents. The Wasps No 10 was expected to pit himself against his idol, the All Blacks fly-half Daniel Carter, before suffering a dislocated and broken ankle at the end of last season.

England lost in their two-Test series in New Zealand, and although he would have loved to have been involved, Cipriani has surely benefited from time away from the glare of public focus. His rehabilitation from injury is ahead of schedule. While he will not be back in time to play a part in the opening game of Wasps' title defence, against London Irish at Twickenham on Saturday, an October comeback has been mooted.

"I didn't get to go to New Zealand, which was unfortunate. I feel ready for the new season although I won't be fit for the beginning," he said. "I can't wait to play again and stake my claim for the England squad. I've been watching a lot of rugby while I've been at home, especially Dan Carter. "He's been playing very well, there are lots of little things you can pick up from a player like that. "I just can't wait to get back and play 100 per cent. I want to get back and soon as possible and be better than I was.

"I want to read the game better and hopefully get back into the national side and go from there." Cipriani played for Reading and QPR when he was younger, and he even a message of support from the England football captain following his injury. "John Terry sent me a text a while ago to see how I was doing. That was nice and it really inspired me to get back playing," he said. "I loved football and cricket but my love for rugby was stronger. I feel very blessed and privileged to do something I love.

"I was a striker. I was at Reading when I was younger but I ended up going down the rugby route. "I wasn't at Reading for long but they wanted to sign me up pretty early. I left boarding school at 14 and put football on the back burner." When Cipriani does return, he will be without his regular on-field bodyguard, following the retirement of Lawrence Dallaglio at the end of last season. The former England captain will remain a towering presence at Adams Park, in his new role as Wasps' associate director, and Cipriani is happy to have him around.

"I've got to talk to Lawrence quite a lot and he's really looked after me in the last year or so," he added. "He is one of those characters whose got such a presence when he comes into the room. "I've learnt a lot from him and I should do as he's won the World Cup and captained England. "I've got massive respect for Lawrence for what he's done." pradley@thenational.ae

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