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Lay off Cipriani

International England
by wilkoleftboot (U10808087) 23 November 2008
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I don't write on these boards much and i havn't done for some time, but after reading some of the comments after the match on saturday i feel inclined to do so.

Firstly, the game on sunday was an embarrassment for english rugby. I think everyone on these boards agrees with that. And as much as SA were ruthless and clinical England were poor and the scoreboard was an honest reflection of this.
Rees and Mears stood out as both had half decent games. But ultimately two players cannot carry a whole team.

Then there is the issue of Cipriani, granted he had his worst game yet in an england shirt and it was almost a polar opposite of that display he produced against Ireland. He has been overlyhyped in the media into being something he's not. World class..not yet anyway. On saturday He looked lethargic, slow and his passing was sloppy. So its only right that he gets some constructive criticism as a result of saturdays display, but then so should the rest of the team. And just as one player can't carry a team, one player cannot be to blame for a loss as heavy as the one inflicted by SA.

Players around Cipriani did not exactly help his situation. Its hard for a 10 to make a back line get over the game line when it takes as long as it did for the ball to reach him on saturday. SA's defence was organised and ferocious, and for this John wells must take some responsibility for a lack of quick ball. As a 10 myself i know how hard its to break a defense which is set and organised. I watched the NZ vs Wales game after and both teams where able to clear ruck and provide quick ball superbly. And i hate to say it, but it was a completly differnt level.

Then there is the rest of the back line. Armitage, Monye and Sackey all look from the evidence of the past few games, very adapt at international level and have bright futures ahead of them. Then flutey, people say he wouldn't make a NZ super 14 team, not good enough, etc etc. Just look at last season, he was players player of the season. Out of any position. May not be the best player in NZ but surely this shows he is the best player at 12 for england? Personally i believe he is a class act.

Now noon. Much as i admire the man for 100% commitment and hard tackling, a lack of pace really shows at international level. End of.

Back to Cipriani. He is only 21. He has only what, 6 caps? I have heard talk that he still isn't ready for international rugby, he should be dropped completly etc. But then look at Matt Giteau. Noone can deny what a class act he is and yet he was playing international rugby BEFORE super 14 rugby, to the aussies its all about identifying talent early and giving it as much experience at an early age. Seems to work for them alright.

What about Flood? Look at Ciprianis performances for club last season and look at Floods. I saw enough evidence last season that Cipriani will be a better player than Flood will ever be. And Wilkinson? A class act (you don't become a record point score for nothing) but sadly is injured, but hopefully in the future i would like to see them both battle it out for the 10 jersey.

I'm not saying that Cipriani should never be dropped, because that shouldn't be the case for any player. All i'm saying is that it will take time. He isn't the finished article yet by no means.

And will Cipriani be a world beater? Probably not. But he will the best England will have for some time.

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posted Nov 24, 2008

CDPnumberone - I'm with you - Wells has had his chance and consistently proved difficult to work with effectively.

I can see where he's coming from. Safety 1st to conserve NRG over the lengthy domestic / European league season - which he excelled at.

But test rugger is a different ball game. Safe & slow just does not compete with Power, Pace & Accuracy. The mercenary approach applied by Wilko to goal scoring and his reliability kept us in touch with the Pace, Power & Accuracy of the southern hemisphere for a while (ref 2003 & 2007 RWCs).

Now Wilko is out of the frame, we need to fight fire with fire at international level. Pace, Power & Accuracy should be the buzz words of all England coaches. So Smith very much stays, Wells must go.

So the question is who should replace Wells???

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comment by Nellyp (U3346768)

posted Nov 24, 2008

1234qwwer, think you were watching a different game to me. Care didn't have to pass to Cipriani in fact the move was clearly designed to leave a big gap which sackey ran into and that should have been the pass from care. Yes Cipriani should have realized and not kicked it but he should never of been put into that position.

I don't think anyone (and definitely not me) said that the reason Cipriani doesn't tackle well is due to his injury but the fact that he is not match sharp is down to lack of games.

Sounds like you think that the number one job of a 10 is to tackle, what a wonderfully negative attitude. 10 should be you main play maker and a match fit Cipriani is that person. Yes he needs to tackle better but it shouldn't be the part of his game he's judged on.

Such is the nature of this wonderful game that we all have different opinions and want to see different things I'd much rather see someone like Ciprani (when up to speed) making breaks and setting up attacking positions whilst it seems that you'd rather ensure we don't give too many points away. Both valid views and thinking about it the heart of the Wilkinson v Ciprani debate.

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posted Nov 24, 2008

To be honest Ciprani and Wilkinson are both great players. However Ciprani does not have the consistancy or mental capability it takes to put on the number 10 shirt. The reason why this has been an on going debate is because ever since Wilko stepped into the number 10 role he has been outstanding. He set very high standards. I have no doubt that Ciprani has the potential to be one of the best 10's England has ever seen but potential and realisation are very different things.

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posted Nov 24, 2008

I agree that Cips isn't the sole cause of the hammering we got but thats it, Flutey i think is usless, and i believe that Noon should be playing inside due to his tackeling ability and Cips lack of one. But apart from that i do believe that the rest of them are fine more so Armitage and as a Sale fan it pains me to say this but believe he is the best Full back we have at the mo, perhapesw try Tait and outside cause he plays very well there.

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posted Nov 24, 2008

wilkinson had the advantage of being eased into the england setup without all the pressure that has been attached to cipriani, and in the long run that helped his game. there was far less media pressure in those days, far less expectation, and wilko played his first games at 12 where he acclimatised to the pace of the game.

cipriani had a good game against ireland, broke his leg, rushed back against the PIs, was average (understandably) and has now been exposed by two of the best three teams in the world (the best is yet to come). the lad has no chance.

in all honesty, i thought he was terrible on saturday, and i think flood should start and cips move to bench for NZ. while it may not be great for his confidence, would being mashed by carter, mccaw and co be any better? besides that is the harsh reality of international rugby - if you have a chance and don't take it then allow someone else to instead. in the long term he will be a fine player, but at this precise time, flood is the better option at 10. the debate will continue for years - next season, mark my words, wilko will be back with a vengeance, and it will make cipriani, flood and england all that much better.

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posted Nov 24, 2008

A poor scrum half could make Dan Carter look shoddy. Cipriani & Care are not ready by a long way. Care needs to stop dancing accross the field before passing, its strangling the space outside him. Cipriani needs time in the England setup, but not at 10. Give him a 6N at 15 to get his experience.

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comment by gmcrop (U13355381)

posted Nov 24, 2008

Woodward can hardly criticise the management for being the state that it is in. He knew that the players standards were not up to scratch after the WC players retired. He was humbled against several team following the WC win and walked out leaving england in a very poor state of affairs. I mean which young talents did Woodward groom (bar wilkenson) that should be leading england now?

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posted Nov 24, 2008

infact neilpr i think quite the opposite, as a sale fan i fully accept hodgsons defensive flaws for the wonders that he produces ball in hand and wouldn't have it any other way. i just dont think his injury can be used as an excuse for missing tackles, but i accept some players defence is better than others and until there's a ten who has all the attacking skills and fronts up in defence this debate will continue.

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posted Nov 24, 2008

Cipriani is simply not in the same league as an all round impact player as Wilkinson is.
The sooner Johnny is back the better and not just for goal kicking but all round attacking options and defence. Its a shame he is hurt again but when fit he has to be given the No.10 shirt. Johnny was not eased into the game, he worked bloody hard at it, he simply didn't get the recognition until he won us a world cup.

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posted Nov 25, 2008

For me, the problem with Cipriani is his net worth to England. At the minute he is responsible for more negative things than positive, that is despite his wonderful rangy breaks.

His tackling is nothing short of appalling and when things aren't going his way, he simply goes in a huff. This cannot be the attitiude of an international 10.

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