This morning Jonny Wilkinson tipped Danny Cipriani for a huge England future. It got me thinking, just how talented is Danny Cipriani?
I’ve raided the old Youtube archives and one thing is clear, we all got carried with his talent for a good reason. Do not forget his spectacular performance Vs Clermont in the Heineken Cup or his outstanding Six Nations debut.
These were by no means complete performances, but they confirm that he’s a bit special. These performances told us that he has more than the Ryan Lambs and Olly Barkleys of this world.
But it went wrong. That’s beyond debate. We will never know whether it was the injuries, the pressure or the partying but the fact is Wasp’s backline was devoid of ideas for most of last season. They finished in the bottom half of the table in points scored, tries scored and try bonus points gained.
So will Melbourne and Super Rugby be the tonic Danny needs to get his career back on track? There are several problems with trying to answer that question. Apart from Michalak and Goode there is little precedence of Europeans at that level. And no one has a clue how the rebels are going to fare. This is a huge risk for Cipriani, perhaps this is a reckless move. Maybe he's playing Russian roulette with his career.
What we do know is that Australia is a great choice of country for him. Rugby union is far from the top of the Aussie sporting agenda, especially in Aussie rules dominated Melbourne. Cipriani is only one of a host of high profile signings. All of this, added to the fact that the Rebels are a brand new franchise, means that he will get the kind of patience that he needs to settle down and establish himself, whether it’s at 10 or 15.
Then there’s the super 15. A league with a skill level that makes the premiership look amateur. A league of hard and dry pitches where running rugby is always encouraged. And a league with no relegation and therefore lower stakes.
Sounds to me like a perfect place to get your confidence back, get your love of the game back and eventually get your form back. I’m going to agree with Wilkinson here. I expect Danny Cipriani to start at 10 for England in the 2015 world Cup. of course all this is assuming he can get a bloody visa.