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.