England v New Zealand
Dallaglio sure of Cipriani comeback
November 26, 2008
Lawrence Dallaglio has backed his former team-mate Danny Cipriani to bounce back from his England setback ©
Lawrence Dallaglio insists fly-half Danny Cipriani will bounce back from being dropped and go on to achieve great things for England - just like Jonny Wilkinson did. Cipriani, 21, has been dropped to the bench for Saturday's Investec Challenge against New Zealand after a wretched performance in the record defeat to South Africa.
But Dallaglio knows Cipriani well having captained him at Wasps and he believes the precocious fly-half will use this setback as motivation to achieve his ambition of becoming the best in the world. "This is the harshest environment to learn lessons," Dallaglio said. "Danny's time will come. Jonny Wilkinson was dropped in the middle of a World Cup and we all know what he went on to do for England."
England manager Martin Johnson has blooded six debutants this month - Delon Armitage, Ugo Monye, Riki Flutey, Nick Kennedy, Dylan Hartley and Jordan Crane - while the likes of Cipriani and scrum-half Danny Care had only two Test starts between them when the series began. It may be painful now, but Dallaglio believes England's youngsters will look back on November 2008 as a vital experience in their development.
"It took me a lot of games to beat Australia, South Africa and New Zealand - but we eventually beat them because we learned what it was like to play against those sides," Dallaglio continued. "Once you learn how to win you build momentum. We finally beat the Boks in 1998 and from 2000 we won 12 straight games against southern hemisphere opposition."
There have been calls for Steve Borthwick to lose the captaincy and for Johnson to clear out his coaching staff following England's record 42-6 defeat to South Africa last weekend. Dallaglio is convinced Johnson is the right man to guide England back to the summit of world rugby - but just three matches into the new era he called for patience and a reality check.
It took Clive Woodward six years to build England into a World Cup-winning team and Dallaglio believes Johnson is having to start his construction from scratch after years of poor planning from the Rugby Football Union. "I captained England to defeat against South Africa in 1997. In Clive's first four matches we lost two and drew two. Six years years later we won the World Cup," Dallaglio said. "It will turn, it will happen but it is not going to be in the space of the autumn. It could take 12 months or longer because of some of the things that have happened in the last four or five years.
"The structures haven't been there and it needs rebuilding. One of the reasons England are having so many problems is that they have had to make so many changes. Everyone has put their trust in Martin. It is going to take him time but you have got to keep the faith. England will turn it around."