Lamb baf­fled by ‘crazy’ Cipri­ani Eng­land snub

Gloucestershire Echo - - SPORT -

RYAN Lamb thinks it is “crazy” that Danny Cipri­ani has not played more of­ten for Eng­land - and claims he would have won 100 caps if he was Welsh or Aus­tralian.

For­mer Glouces­ter fly-half Lamb has been in awe of how Cipri­ani has led the Cherry and Whites at­tack since join­ing the club from Wasps last year and be­lieves he should be in the World Cup squad that is an­nounced next week.

Since mak­ing his de­but as the next great hope of the English game in 2008, Cipri­ani has won 16 caps with only two of them com­ing un­der cur­rent head coach Ed­die Jones - both against South Africa last sum­mer.

He lit up the Premier­ship last sea­son to be crowned the league’s dou­ble player of the sea­son and was named in Eng­land’s ini­tial 38-man pre-world Cup train­ing squad but was not part of the re­cent 12-day warm weather camp in Italy.

“It’s crazy that he’s not got more Eng­land caps.

“(Owen) Far­rell, I un­der­stand, is a world class player but if you need some­one to come on and change the game, you’re not go­ing to get any­one bet­ter in the world than Cips to go and get two tries in a World Cup game.”

Eng­land face Wales in their first warm-up game at Twick­en­ham on Sun­day with Jones nam­ing his 31-man World Cup squad to travel to Ja­pan the day af­ter and Cipri­ani is al­most cer­tain to miss out.

Lamb has been out­spo­ken about how he “hated” his own ex­pe­ri­ence in the Eng­land setup un­der Martin John­son and Stu­art Lan­caster and cites Cipri­ani and his for­mer Glouces­ter team­mate James Simp­son-daniel as ex­am­ples of tal­ented play­ers who have been over­looked be­cause they did not fit in with the cul­ture.

“Simp­son-daniel was the best player I ever played with,” he said.

“If you asked any­one in the side or who­ever played against him, who are the best English play­ers, Sin­bad would be in the top five. And he got 10 caps.

“Why do you think that is? It’s just typ­i­cal rugby mutes.

“They haven’t got that flair so they don’t un­der­stand it. If it’s too risky, it’s not hap­pen­ing. You’ve got a guy who’s a ge­nius and you shield it away from

them. It’s a shame.

“There are a lot of play­ers like that in Eng­land. If Sin­bad was Welsh he would have got 100 caps, if Cips was Welsh or Aus­tralian he’s got 100 caps.

“It’s just the English men­tal­ity, which works for them but it’s not for me, it’s not how I would like to run it.

“Other peo­ple thrive in it so it’s dif­fi­cult. You’ve got a choice whether you buy into it or not.

“Eng­land have done well and Far­rell’s world class. He’s num­ber one. In terms of knock­out rugby, how many games has Far­rell won?

“I don’t think you can change your at­tack for a World Cup ei­ther but I just think Cips is a great guy to have in your squad.

“Why not have some­thing so dif­fer­ent to what you’ve got?”

Lamb thinks that the back­ing Glouces­ter head coach Jo­han Ack­er­mann has given Cipri­ani has en­abled the 31-year-old to play at the top of his game.

“I love the way he backs Cips be­cause Cips gets so much stick and ev­ery time some­thing’s hap­pened he’s backed his man,” said Lamb.

“I think he seems very com­fort­able here (at Glouces­ter). I think with Cips he can read a de­fence, he knows how to beat a de­fence and if you give him that re­spon­si­bil­ity you’ll al­ways see peo­ple like Cips flour­ish and give him the con­fi­dence of say­ing ‘you’re num­ber one.’ “This is what hap­pened to me a lot of the time when I had the same rep­u­ta­tion, maybe not as Cips, but a few er­rors in your game and things like that... when you look at it, it’s not many but they get high­lighted so much more and then as soon as you have that rep­u­ta­tion you al­ways feel like you’re wait­ing to get dropped.

“Cips hasn’t got that. He didn’t have that at Wasps be­cause (Jimmy) Gop­perth got in­jured and you see if you have a guy who has a run of five or six games and say ‘you’re my start­ing guy, I want you to build our at­tack over a year,’ you can see what can hap­pen.

“He’s a very in­tel­li­gent rugby player and very skil­ful at the high end.

“Peo­ple will listen to him and you should listen to him be­cause he knows what he’s talk­ing about.”

Danny Cipri­ani will be stay­ing at home dur­ing the World Cup

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