Danny Cipriani’s decision to join Melbourne Rebels in the Super 15 is almost certainly going to rule him out of Martin Johnson’s squad for next years World Cup but I can see why he’s done what he’s done, and to be honest I don’t blame him.
He clearly has been given no indication that he has any immeadiate England future as things stand at the moment, and the jury appears to be out over whether this decision should be seen as a negative, in him running away, or a positive step to try and prove he has what it takes to make it at the top.
Should Martin Johnson have made more of an effort to influence him? Did he need an arm around the shoulder and to be made feel more wanted? Who knows.
There are though, stories that Cipriani doesn’t knuckle down enough and show enough commitment, Will Carling basically backed up this view a couple of weeks ago when he questioned his ambition to make it too the top.
On the flip side is Cipriani misunderstood? Could it be that England should have embraced his talent and allowed him the freedom to express himself more, even if it meant taking a few hard knocks along the way.
After all it could be said Martin Johnson took a massive backwards step when picking Andy Goode for the 2009 Six Nations and abandoning Englands efforts (with Cipriani at fly half) from the 2008 autumn internationals to play a running game after a couple of heavy defeats.
I just hope this doesn’t go against Cipriani in the long run and that Martin Johnson can see some good in the move and look at it all from a positive perspective.
After all, the move could have the right effect for him and turn him into the match winner we have been continually told he will be. I can’t see him getting an easy ride in Australia with their competitive nature, this could turn out to be a good finishing school and be the making of him.
It could also prove to be a good move as he is sure to be encouraged to play a far more expansive running game, all this could be England’s gain when (and if) he comes back at the end of his two year contract.