Danny Cipriani: Gloucester fly-half should have more England caps - Johan Ackermann

Danny Cipriani in action for Gloucester
Danny Cipriani has started five Tests for England from a total of 16 appearances - with his fourth and fifth starts coming almost a decade apart

Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann feels "sorry" fly-half Danny Cipriani has not won more caps for England.

The 31-year-old, who signed a new three-year deal on Tuesday, has made a total of 16 appearances since his international debut in 2008.

However, he has not featured for Eddie Jones' team since June's third Test against South Africa.

"Maybe they [England] feel he has to be stronger defensively. But I don't want to speculate," Ackermann said.

Cipriani joined the Cherry and Whites last summer and has been in fine form this season, helping Gloucester to third in the Premiership table.

However, the former Wasps and Sale Sharks back has endured a frustrating career at international level.

He spent five and a half years out of the side between November 2008 and June 2014, and almost a further three between August 2015 and June last year.

Having not been involved since his fifth start, against the Springboks last summer in Cape Town - which came almost a decade after his fourth against the same opposition in November 2008, Ackermann is unsure how Cipriani would feel if he is overlooked for the Rugby World Cup which starts in September.

"I believe the tough thing for him will be the mental challenge - if that call doesn't come, will he persist?" the South African told BBC Sport.

"I always wonder if he'd had the Autumn series and the Six Nations, to show some confidence and build a bit of momentum, he would have had six or seven games.

"We all know about his attacking ability and skill-set when it comes to putting players into space.

"He's not a maverick, he thinks about the game, he doesn't take calculated risks. He likes his structure."

Danny Cipriani in action for England
Cipriani featured twice during last summer's tour of South Africa, as a replacement in the second Test and starting the third Test, as England lost the series 2-1

Cipriani has forged a strong relationship with Ackermann in his first season at Kingsholm, despite a troubled start when he was fined £2,000 after an assault in a Jersey nightclub during Gloucester's pre-season tour.

"I can just be honest with Danny," Ackermann said.

"Sometimes it's not kind but I have never been concerned.

"I've been around Danny to see he's matured to make good decisions. I'm a big believer in second chances and you can see Danny is a good guy off the field.''

Meanwhile, Ackermann revealed winger Ollie Thorley could be out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

"There's a slim chance he can make the play-offs. but it's not good news for us. He doesn't need an operation and will be back in time for the England World Cup camp in June," the 48-year-old added.