Aviva Premiership
Sharks owner blasts Cipriani
ESPN Staff
December 23, 2012
Montpellier's Francois Trinh-Duc hands off Danny Cipriani, Montpellier v Sale Sharks, Heineken Cup, Yves du Manoir stadium, France, October 21, 2012
Danny Cipriani's defensive capabilities have once again been questioned © Getty Images

Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy has launched a stinging attack on his struggling squad and singled out marquee signing Danny Cipriani for particular criticism.

Sale's shambolic season plummeted to new depths last weekend when they were thrashed 62-0 by Toulon in the Heineken Cup. That defeat prompted John Mitchell to read the riot act to his players, including Cipriani who has been dropped for Sunday's Aviva Premiership clash with Wasps.

Despite playing a crucial role in bringing the former England fly-half back to the Aviva Premiership following two season with the Melbourne Rebels in Super Rugby, Kennedy is right behind his coach's decision to drop Cipriani.

"Danny didn't want to tackle last week," Kennedy told the Mail on Sunday. "It's the coaches decision, but if you can't defend then there's no place for you in Premiership rugby.

"Danny had a dreadful game in defence last week. And if you're not prepared to put your body on the line for this club, who pay your wages and give you the chance to play at the highest level each week, then you won't be in the squad, will you?

"You just have to watch Danny's game at Toulon to understand why he's not playing against Wasps.

"Toulon are a great side full of great players, but no Premiership team should lose by 62-0 to any side, at any time. Some of the players have paid the price for it, and that includes Danny Cipriani."

The Sharks owner criticised the entire Sale squad as well as the coaches for their disastrous start to the season, which has left them bottom of the Aviva Premiership and fighting for their top-flight status.

Kennedy continued: "It's ironic, isn't it? We have a new stadium, one of the best grounds in the Premiership, and we definitely have the best training facilities in English rugby at Carrington, on a par with Manchester City.

"I expected us to be pushing hard for a top-four position this season, especially with the signings we made in the close season.

"So what's gone wrong? It's not the ground. It's not the training facilities. It's not the support given to the club in terms of investing in players. Are we being delusional? I don't think so. So it is either down to the players, the coaches or a combination of them both.

"'I'm not allowing myself to plan for relegation because that would be a negative mindset that would only strengthen our chances of going down.

"But I will admit our position is perilous and that's not a word I use lightly. I expect the Sale Sharks to show some pride and dignity at Wasps, to show that they care and that they are angry and hurting. I know I am.

"We should be a top club, but we're rock bottom and unless we do something about it, starting at Wasps, we will stay there."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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