England call for Hipkiss
Leicester centre gets the nod to replace injured Cipriani
By Tony Curtis. Last Updated: 20/05/08 11:46am
Hipkiss: England call
Martin Johnson has turned to Leicester centre Dan Hipkiss to fill the void left by the injured Danny Cipriani.
"We all agreed there was good cover at fly-half with Charlie Hodgson, Olly Barkley and Toby Flood, and so we decided to go with Dan."
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Wasps fly-half Cipriani faces six months on the sidelines after suffering a fracture dislocation to his right ankle in the Premiership play-off victory over Bath on Sunday.
Cipriani was expected to play a key role on the tour to New Zealand at fly-half, with the enticing prospect of the 20-year-old going up against Dan Carter.
However new England manager Johnson has resisted the temptation of adding another fly-half to his squad with Charlie Hodgson, Olly Barkley and Toby Flood all candidates for the No.10 shirt in the first Test against New Zealand on June 14.
Gloucester fly-half Ryan Lamb had been expected to get the nod, however he will remain with the Saxons squad for the Churchill Cup.
The 25-year-old Hipkiss has won six caps and was part of the 2007 World Cup squad and is an exciting prospect in the centres.
Johnson said: "Rob Andrew (England New Zealand tour manager), the coaches and I discussed suitable candidates for the tour yesterday.
"We all agreed there was good cover at fly-half with Charlie Hodgson, Olly Barkley and Toby Flood, and so we decided to go with Dan.
"He gives us further options at centre and he has been playing well for Leicester Tigers in recent weeks. He deserves his chance."
Hipkiss believes the call-up will give him a chance to cement his place in the side, although he does admit he feels sorry for Cipriani.
He said: "I obviously cannot help but feel for Danny and the injury he has suffered, and my thoughts are with him.
"However, this gives me a chance to tour New Zealand and it will be a very tough and challenging environment.
"The Rugby World Cup last year will hold me in good stead and it is an opportunity I am looking forward to."