Danny Cipriani will be a keen spectator of England vs. Wales 10 years on from Test debut

Rugby


Danny Cipriani won’t be involved on the field when England host Wales in the Six Nations Saturday but he will be an interested spectator of what promises to be a ferocious battle.

Cipriani has not been used by his country since being omitted from Stuart Lancaster’s 2015 Rugby World Cup squad, his 14 Test caps a paltry return for the obvious talent he possesses. But there was a time when he was seen as the long-term heir to Jonny Wilkinson.

Ten years ago last week, at just 20 years of age, the Wasps fly-half stepped off the England bench to make his international debut at Twickenham against Saturday’s opposition.

“I remember coming on and Jonny [Wilkinson] threw a pass about 20 metres above my head,” he told ESPN. “I wish I could have caught it but it was just way too high. That was my first ever inclusion.

“But the first game I don’t remember too much of it, I just remember the camps and the weeks really. It was just great to be involved in training, and with the group.”

That 2008 match was also Warren Gatland’s first in charge of Wales. In the 10 years since, the Kiwi coach has gone on to win three Six Nations titles — two of which were Grand Slams — as well as leading Wales to the semifinals of the 2011 World Cup and taking charge of two British & Irish Lions tours.

Cipriani knew Gatland well having come through at Wasps, where the Wales boss coached between 2002 and 2005.

“He’s a great character of the game,” Cipriani said. “I think by going for the Wales job you put yourself under a lot of pressure with the media, because I’d say they’re even more ruthless towards the Wales coaches than the England coaches – unless you’re Stuart Lancaster.

“But I think he’s dealt with it very well and [that] comes across in his mind games, I always enjoy what comes out of the Wales camp leading into games to see what he says.

“When you’re within that group it’s good to feel that your coach is already trying to get one up on the opposition.”

The noise and mind games this week have emanated mainly from the England camp, as Eddie Jones heaped pressure on both Rhys Patchell and Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones ahead of their trip to Twickenham.

Cipriani has so far been overlooked by the current England coach, but the pair remain in contact — as recently as last month — and there is praise for the work the Australian has done since replacing Lancaster.

He added: “From people you speak to, it’s his man-management within that group and once you get in, the confidence he gives the group of players and they’ve obviously gone on and won the last two Six Nations.

“So, obviously that success speaks for itself. I think it’s going to be another big one this one.”



Source link

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

Colorado Avalanche defensmen Erik Johnson, Anton Lindholm out indefinitely with undisclosed injuries
Red Bulls finally sign ‘Kaku’ Gamarra as young designated player
Eric Hosmer striking it rich in San Diego is so crazy it could work
Joe Durant shoots 63 to take Chubb Classic lead
Valverde: Barca wish they didn’t have to face Chelsea

Leave a Reply