Was Cipriani ever good enough?
Former England player Austin Healey has launched a withering attack on Danny Cipriani just days after the maverick flyhalff surprisingly quit Gloucester with immediate effect just 19 months after he was voted the Premiership players’ player of the year.
Cipriani had hailed the arrival at Kingsholm in June of George Skivington as the replacement for Johan Ackermann, who guided the club to the league semi-finals in 2018/19 but exited in sudden fashion last May.
Now Cipriani has followed the South African out the exit door at Gloucester, his departure confirmed last Tuesday less than 24 hours after it was revealed that Scotland international Adam Hastings would be joining the English club for the 2021/22 season
Cipriani’s departure has raised eyebrows, Andy Goode questioning the player’s lack of form in recent times.
It is a theme that Healey has now also fastened onto to. However, aside from being critical of his recent performances, the sport pundit remarked that Cipriani was never good enough to play more regularly for England in a 16-cap career where he was last capped in 2018.
Writing in his weekly Telegraph column, Healey said: “The (now former) Gloucester fly-half is someone who played rugby with his heart but who also lived his life with his heart.
“He’s obviously a complicated individual with lots going on in his personal life, but in Gloucester’s season-opening loss at Leicester, he was a complete and utter mess. I know his career is not over, but I fear he has reached a stage in his life where his heart may no longer be in it.
“Danny never really hit the heights with England because he was never good enough. He was nowhere near as good as George Ford or Owen Farrell.
“He has thrown some amazing passes, he’s box office with an immense highlights reel, but if you were to play his 80-minute reel you would see a lot more negative than positive. You cannot play international rugby when your goal-kicking percentage starts with a seven – at best – either
“Danny has never been able to change people’s perceptions of him. He worked hard and he trained hard, but he has never put to bed the perception that he could be disruptive to a squad.
“You can be as much of a gifted maverick as you like, but the common goal has to be the team. And when it isn’t, people turn on you.”