Carling slams Cipriani's lack of focus
February 12, 2010
Wasps fly-half Danny Cipriani has been linked with a move the newly-formed Melbourne Rebels in Australia © Getty Images
Former England captain Will Carling has abandoned plans to manage Danny Cipriani because he believes the Wasps fly-half lacks the focus required to excel on the international stage.
Carling, who led England to three Grand Slams during the 1990s, had wanted to help the 22-year-old Cipriani get his career back on track after falling out of favour with current England manager Martin Johnson. But, after spending the last six weeks talking to Cipriani, Carling has concluded that his desire to reclaim the England No.10 jersey "is not as strong as it needs to be" and fears he could become one of English rugby's great wasted talents.
"The reason the whole concept appealed to me was that I believed here was a guy with a special talent, who desperately wanted to play for England, and maybe I could help him work things through with Wasps and England, as I know the key personnel in both camps," Carling told his website Rucku.com. "I have spent the last six weeks trying to focus Danny and, without laying the blame at anyone's door, the main reason that I have decided not to go ahead is that I do not believe that Danny's focus is on playing for England.
"That and that alone was my main motivation for getting involved with him. It is not about money and certainly not about profile, it was about helping him earn the England number 10 shirt. And, rightly or wrongly, I have concluded that his desire to earn that shirt is not as strong as I want it to be and as strong as it needs to be."
Carling consulted England manager Martin Johnson, Wasps head coach Shaun Edwards and former internationals Josh Lewsey and Matt Dawson during the process. Johnson told Carling that, despite speculation of a fall-out, he had not written Cipriani off.
The consensus of opinion Carling gathered was Cipriani is a "great talent" but with an "ability to alienate team-mates".
"I sincerely hope that it is not a talent that is never fulfilled in an England shirt but I worry that might be the case and I just hope that sometime soon Danny focuses on England and the hard work that will be necessary to earn his place in the team," added Carling.
Cipriani won his last England cap off the bench against New Zealand in the 2008 autumn internationals, since when his representative appearances have been restricted to the second-string Saxons.
Cipriani's Wasps contract expires in the summer and the club will announce next week whether he features in their plans for next season. He has been in contact with the new Super 15 franchise Melbourne Rebels, a move that would halt his international career.