Well, well, well……After all the so called “experts” of the game lavishing their praise over the on field antics of Danny Cirpiani, at last England Head Coach Eddie Jones makes the right choice and leaves him out of the England squad for the Quilter autumn internationals.
Jones describes Cipriani as England’s “third choice fly half at the moment”…we wouldn’t even rate him that highly! Without doubt Owen Farrell and George Ford are the form players in that position and have rightly been selected. Third place for us goes to young Marcus Smith of Harlequins all day long. He has proven himself to be quite a tough cookie for his club, and has definitely got an old and astute head on his young shoulders when it comes to on field decision making. His work rate is also exceptional. He constantly puts in the hard yards and is all over the pitch. Granted, he still has a lot to learn but he is without doubt above Cipriani in the fly half pecking order.
And here’s why Mr Cipriani has been left out. Jones says it’s because he still has “areas of the game he needs to work on”. You Think?! Anyone who watches Cipriani play each week, we mean REALLY watches him, will know exactly what Jones means. Week after week, he goes out of his way to avoid making a tackle if he possibly can!! He will go through the motions like he is lining up to do his duty, but at the vital time he will move himself just enough to avoid having to get stuck in. The only time he actually makes contact is when he can’t get out of the way and players run straight at him. Fact. Next time Gloucester are live on TV have a real look out for him, he normally wears very bright coloured boots which makes him easy to spot. He might want to change them to black!
Now the “experts” will say that he shouldn’t be getting too involved with the physical side of the game, that he should leave that to the burly forwards. Well not in this day and age. He should be leading from the front, leading by example, if he wants to be a respected International. His work rate is not up to that of the current picks and contrast his defensive style with that of Farrell, Ford and even Smith. No comparison.
Quite who the panel were who made Danny Cipriani Premiership player of the month for September but you have to wonder what games of rugby they have been watching? You can’t blame Danny for getting the award but there are 3 or 4 players in his own team (Polledri, Morgan, Rapava Ruskin) who would have pushed him VERY close, not to mention the rest of the Premiership!
We’ve all heard Austin Healey waxing lyrical about Danny every time he is commentating on one of his games, and cooing like a proud Dad whenever he makes an average kick, but enough is enough. Nick Simon of the Daily Mail stated in his column last Sunday that leaving Cipriani out of the squad is”madness”…why??
Don’t get us wrong here, Danny Cipriani is without doubt a VERY good rugby player but does he really warrant all the oohing and aahhing that the so called “experts” lavish upon him? Not as far as Eddie Jones is concerned obviously. He is not an International player. There are better and younger players coming through who deserve the chance to stake their claim and, hopefully, they will get their chance soon….