Cipriani wasn't sidelined: England rugby - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cipriani wasn't sidelined: England rugby

by Julian Guyer 24/02/2010 04:27:30 PM Comments (0)

England manager Martin Johnson has denied suggestions his treatment of Danny Cipriani forced the fly-half to move to Australia.

Wasps fly-half Cipriani effectively put his England career on hold last week when he announced he was joining the Melbourne Rebels, Australia's new Super 15 franchise, at the end of the current European season.

"We spoke last week and I wished him good luck," Johnson said at England's training base in Bagshot on Tuesday.

"He has got bags of potential but lots of players in our squad have that."

As a teenager, Cipriani masterminded England's crushing 33-10 victory over Ireland at Twickenham to such an extent that when Jonny Wilkinson came off the bench he played at inside centre rather than at fly-half.

But on Tuesday it was Wilkinson who was named in the starting side to play Ireland in the Six Nations at Twickenham on Saturday with Cipriani, who last played for England in 2008, having long since dropped out of Test contention.

Who is to blame for Cipriani's England exile is one of the hot topics in world rugby.

Two months after his sparkling display against Ireland, in May 2008, Cipriani fractured his ankle in a Premiership match against Bath.

He returned to England duty for Johnson's first November series later that year but appeared to have been rushed back, suffering from a succession of charged-down kicks.

His last international appearance came off the bench later that month against New Zealand, since then he has been restricted to the Saxons, England's reserve team.

During the past two years there have been repeated allegations Cipriani is a poor team man but his supporters argue the England management have been negligently inflexible in their treatment of a player of rare talent, forcing his move to Melbourne.

However, Johnson said: "I probably spent more time talking to him than any other player."

And England attack coach Brian Smith added: "When we picked the squad for this series, 'Cips' had been injured. He didn't have any form behind him ... He understood where we were coming from."

Smith, who played for both Australia and Ireland during his Test career, said Cipriani's move south could prove hugely beneficial to the stand-off's development but said England still had plenty of other fly-half options.

"Super Rugby is free-flowing and it will suit him down to the ground. There will be some good influences on him, he is still young and it will be a chance to develop his game," Smith said.

"I did the same thing 20 years ago and I think I was a better player for it. I think Danny has done it for the right reasons. I hope he comes back a better player because we all have a stake in Danny Cipriani."

Cipriani's move has placed a question mark against his participation in next year's World Cup in New Zealand but Smith appeared unconcerned, saying. "We have five or six guys who could do a job for us at the World Cup."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news