Path clear for Cipriani

Stuart Lancaster insists the path has been cleared for Danny Cipriani to play his way into England’s World Cup squad despite his arrest on suspicion of drink driving.

The Sale fly-half was involved in a collision with another car on June 1 and after giving a breath test he was taken to a west London police station before being released on bail until August.

He has since been re-bailed to a date in mid-November pending further enquiries, enabling him to continue his battle with George Ford and Owen Farrell for one of the probable two fly-half spots in England’s World Cup squad.

“We weren’t in control of the initial date and we certainly weren’t in control of this date,” head coach Lancaster said.

“It’s been extended by the police so we’ll wait and see. He’s not been charged by the police. He’s here as a bona fide member of the squad and will be judged accordingly.”

Cipriani was among the 45 players who returned to England’s training base at Pennyhill Park on Sunday following a week off as the countdown to their first World Cup warm-up game against France at Twickenham on August 15 continues.

There was a positive injury update on Nick Easter and Ben Morgan after Lancaster revealed the number eights played significant roles in training as they contend with respective back and leg problems.

“Nick has made great progress on his back injury and has been involved in a unit session. He’s not done all the sessions but he’s in good shape,” Lancaster said.

“Ben was the other doubt but he has also been involved in the units session. He won’t be doing every session this week, but he’s in pretty good shape and should be fine to train fully next week.”

England have been drawn in the toughest group in World Cup history with Australia and Wales also hoping to progress from Pool A, while the threat from opening opponents Fiji now appears greater than previously thought.

The Islanders were crowned Pacific Nations Cup winners with a 39-29 victory over Samoa in Canada in Monday night’s final.

“We’ve been looking closely at Fiji over that last few weeks. That was an impressive performance against Samoa and I can assure you there aren’t just two teams in our pool who are a threat,” Lancaster said.

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