From Paul Morgan, editor of Rugby World Magazine
In almost every circumstance it is all hail Martin Johnson as far as I am concerned. But I have absolutely no idea why he is bothering to punish Danny Cipriani by sending him to Denver this summer for the Churchill Cup for the England A tournament. Everyone knows what a good player Cipriani is and what he can and can’t do, and the problems he’s had this season, caused by the fact he broke his ankle just over a year ago. I think, although Johnson wouldn’t admit it, this is a test of character for Cipriani. Ie – if he can go on this tour and play well he will show the maturity needed to become England’s fly-half again…but I see that as a waste of time.
Fair enough Johnson doesn’t think he is better than Sam Vesty or Andy Goode – although we could debate that, but take a youngster to the Churchill Cup like Rob Miller or Rory Clegg, and learn something new about a guy who could be an England star of the future.
I put this to Johnson at today’s England press conference and he replied: “Young players and Danny is still only 21 are learning things all the time. There is value is taking these guys on these tours, as it is all part of their experience. It was a pretty close call but Sam (Vesty) has been playing pretty well. That is the call we are making. Danny is 21 and like all these players has room to develop and improve. Danny was keen to tour in whatever tour we picked him in. That is his choice.”
I am confident Cipriani will have the pin removed this summer and will once again become the fly-half I saw in 2007 and 2008. The guy has the X-Factor and could win a World Cup for England so the RFU coaches should be focussing on helping him find his mojo again, not sending him off with the A team!
But what do others think? Good call by Johnno or not?