Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cipriani's struggles show the media should not pick the England team

Cast your mind back to the end of the 2007 Six Nations. England had Jonny Wilkinson coming back to fitness and while he was away we had discovered two promising fly halves. Toby Flood had the authority and calmness to control a match, while Shane Geraghty looked an exciting, more attacking option.

Since then the two of them have been junked in favour of Danny Cipriani, whose performances have never looked likely to justify the extraordinary faith that has been placed in him.

Because of his tabloid lifestyle, it was natural that the newspapers should show interest in him. But a team is in trouble when the newspapers are choosing the national side. (Remember the extraordinary promotion of the Hollioake brothers to the England cricket team and how quickly the selectors subsequently lost interest in them?)

And a tabloid lifestyle is not much of a recommendation anyway. As Lembit Opik will confirm, dating a Cheeky Girl doesn't necessarily help you win when in matters.

Mike Catt writes in the Telegraph:
For Cipriani's sake, I would play Toby Flood at fly-half against New Zealand next week. At least Flood will threaten the gain line. At the moment Cipriani is standing deep and shovelling the ball sideways, giving his outside backs no chance.
And I would also pick Harry Ellis rather than Danny Care. Perhaps, as a Leicester Tigers fan, I am biased, but you cannot base your strategy on the hope that your scrum half will make a 50-yard break in every game. If you want someone to link with the back row and keep the team moving forward, then Ellis is your man.

1 comment:

Nich Starling said...

Most of this is a foreign language to me.

My only adivce would be to follow the English football team's lead and get a foreign coach.