Danny Cipriani has cleared the first hurdle on a comeback trail that should lead to Twickenham next month.
Cipriani played for 51 minutes of Wasps’ Guinness Premiership home defeat against Bath last night - his first game since suffering an horrific ankle injury more than four months ago.
With dislocated-knee victim Jonny Wilkinson battling to play again before Christmas, Wasps fly-half Cipriani’s return will have delighted England manager Martin Johnson.
Cipriani, who replaced Wilkinson and kicked 18 points when England beat Ireland in their final game of last season’s RBS 6 Nations Championship, is favourite to wear the number 10 shirt in a November 8 autumn Test opener against the Pacific Islanders.
“I was very happy to get through the match, but disappointed we lost,” said Cipriani, after Wasps suffered a fourth defeat in five games - losing 27-23.
“Obviously, I was a bit rusty at first. I made some mistakes, which I know I can eradicate from my game after I’ve looked at the analysis.
“I thought my goalkicking was good, and I felt a bit more confident with my defence.”
Bath, though, ensured they gatecrashed Cipriani’s Adams Park homecoming as tries from Pieter Dixon, Matt Stevens, Michael Claassens and Joe Maddock secured a bonus-point 27-23 win that took the west country club top.