Friday, 18 February 2011

Cipriani Will be a Worried Man

Danny CiprianiMany months ago I wrote about Cipriani's chances of resurrecting his England career in Australia. I concluded that in time it will work out for him, in fact I backed to start at 10 for England in the 2015 World Cup. I still stand by this prediction partly out of stubborness but mainly out of a real belief in his talent. But right now if I was Danny Cipriani I would be a very worried man.

Firstly Cipriani didn't even make the starting XV in his first game for his new club (or province or franchise or whatever the hell they're calling a team these days). James Hilgendorf, picked in front of him, is a 28 year old journeyman of Australian rugby and is supposed to be in the squad as cover for Cipriani.

Then 8 minutes into the first game of the season (and with the score still at 0-0) Hilgendorf has to leave the field and Cipriani gets his big chance to prove himself.....Final score Rebels 0 Waratahs 43.

Now don't get me wrong here, the Rebels need time and Cipriani needs time. All I'm saying is that doubts must be creeping into his mind. Last night I heard Mark Lawrenson talk about how important it is for a football team to be playing as close to a full strength side as possible when giving young players there debut, so as to give them the best possible chance of performing well. I thought this was a good point, and it got me thinking that maybe a brand new team is not the place for Cipriani to rediscover his confidence.

And on the other side of the world the England number 10 spot is looking very secure in the hands Toby Flood. Not only is he playing superbly well but England are benefiting hugely from a 9-10 combination that play together at club level. Its hard to see either Flood or Youngs being replaced in the near future. And if he gets injured Johnny Wilkinson represents a pretty able deputy.

Danny Cipriani needs to understand three things 1) His career in England fell seriously off-track 2) The Rebels are not going to be competitive for a while and 3) There is no chance of him going to the 2011 RWC. If he accepts these three points then he'll understand that he needs to be extremely patient, If he doesn't show this patience I worry for the guy.

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