Lamb baffled by ‘crazy’ Cipriani England snub
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