England coach Eddie Jones has been forced to defend his flip flop selection approach to Danny Cipriani.
Ahead of November tests against the Springboks, All Blacks, Japan and Wallabies, Jones named a 36-man squad on Wednesday for a three-day training camp in Bristol.
The omission of Cipriani, the mercurial first five-eighth, and recall of damaging midfielder Manu Tuilagi - after last featuring in the 2016 Six Nations - were the major talking points.
Jones made it clear earlier this month Cipriani would be judged on form, not his latest off-field incident.
Last month Cipriani was handed two convictions for common assault and resisting arrest following a nightclub incident during Gloucester's pre-season tour of Jersey. He was fined £4,000 (NZD$7937), and found guilty by the Rugby Football Union of "conduct prejudicial to the interest of the game".
Since then, Cipriani has found eye-catching form in the opening three rounds of the Premiership. English pundits can't get enough of his instinctive, attacking spark; two cut-out passes which created tries in particular garnering wide acclaim.
Those highlights haven't been enough to see the 30-year-old retain his place, though.
Handed his first start in over a decade for the third test in South Africa last June, Cipriani is again on the outer. And with three Premiership matches before Jones names his squad for November, Cipriani now appears unlikely to be selected.
Leicester's George Ford and Saracens first-five Owen Farrell, the latter used almost exclusively by Jones at second-five, are all that is required for now.
"It's a different circumstance," Jones said of June when he started Cipriani. "We're selecting a squad now for November. We're selecting a squad for September. I'm looking at who we need now, what we need at this particular time, and at the moment we've got Owen and George who I believe are our first choice flyhalves and then comes Danny and he has some areas of his game he needs to work on.
"We've decided to have two standoffs in this squad because we want them to get a lot of training time and Danny is probably third or fourth. He knows what he has to work on.
"He's desperate for play for England and that's terrific."
Asked if the door was still open for Cipriani to force his way in before the World Cup, under 12 months away, Jones said: "100 per cent, great chance. He's got as much opportunity as any of the players in or outside the squad."
For the All Blacks, the return of Tuilagi could generate more interest. Due to his injury woes Tuilagi last started a test in 2014 but memories of him starring against the All Blacks at Twickenham two years earlier will not be forgotten.
Jones is under major pressure to deliver convincing results against the Southern Hemisphere superpowers with England winning one of their past six tests.
But after stating he made 30 calls to players not selected, Jones was bullish about competition for places and England's prospects.
"I've probably never been as excited about naming an England squad as today because I can sense with the players they're all much fitter; they're all more vibrant than they were 12 months ago. The level of competition in the Premiership has been outstanding. Our Lions players have had a chance to have a proper rest, a proper preseason, so they're in much better condition than they were last year.
"Over the next 12 months some players are going to rise, and some will fall. Some players have historical form which helps them and some players don't. By the time we get to the World Cup I'm really confident we're going to have a strong, vibrant England squad.
"We want to be the best team in the world. We've got a pretty good understanding of the type of game we need to play to be the best team in the world."
Tom Curry (Sale), Jamie George (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Nick Isiekwe (Saracens), Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Zach Mercer (Bath), Michael Rhodes (Saracens), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Nick Schonert (Worcester), Brad Shields (Wasps), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter), Mark Wilson (Newcastle)
Backs: Chris Ashton (Sale), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Danny Care (Harlequins), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Nathan Earle (Harlequins), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Alex Lozowski (Saracens), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Jack Nowell (Exeter), Dan Robson (Wasps), Henry Slade (Exeter), Ben Te'o (Worcester), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)