By Ali Stokes
Gloucester-bound fly-half Danny Cipriani has said he aims to be “the calmest guy in the room” during his first return to the England ten jersey in a decade this weekend.
Cipriani last started for England during the 2008 Six Nations, making his return to the XV in Cape Town this weekend.
"I'm excited for Saturday and obviously I know the size and magnitude of the game," Cipriani told Sky Sports News. "But, you know, if you ride the wave too high or too low then you will end up all over the place.
"I'm pretty calm and that's my position, and where I'm going to be on Saturday is to try and be the calmest guy in the room."
At one time Cipriani was never far from controversy, often featuring in news headlines for off-field antics. But the 31-year-old claims to be a far more tranquil person, having learned from his mistakes.
"I'd say [I'm] much calmer.” Cipriani said. “I was in a different environment. I was at Wasps and we had strike-runners everywhere and we played rugby a certain way. Then I moved over to ply my trade in different areas and teams and learned more about the game.
"I was always told to be a student of the game and that's the best I've done. I feel like I'm getting there and I still have a long way to go, but I'm calm at the moment and I'm excited for Saturday."
When asked for his reasoning for dropping long-serving fly-half George Ford from the 23 altogether in favour of Cipriani this weekend, England coach Jones said:
"We feel he's been the best 10 at the moment and it's very hard on George Ford who has been an important part of the team. He works hard behind the scenes for the team and we just feel that Cipriani's left foot will really help us on Saturday in what might be difficult conditions.
"If you look at it, every game we have come out with energy. Every game we have come out with purpose, we have won the first 20 minutes of each game.
"It's our ability to be composed, to make good decisions under pressure, because at some stage of the game the Springboks are going to come at us and it's our ability to hang on to that moment, find out what we are going to do and execute it. That's the important thing and obviously Danny is going to have a role at 10."
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