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English Rugby
Cipriani lauds Armitage debut
PA Sport
November 10, 2008
Delon Armitage of England launches an attack during the Investec Challenge match between England and Pacific Islanders at Twickenham in London, England on November 8, 2008.
Will Armitage's strong run of form continue against the Wallabies this weekend? © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Delon Armitage | Danny Cipriani
Teams: England

Danny Cipriani believes England full-back Delon Armitage has the "magic" needed to be a success in Test rugby.

A man-of-the-match display by Armitage in Saturday's 39-13 victory over the Pacific Islanders saw the 24-year-old lavished with praise. England manager Martin Johnson described his debut as one of the best he had seen after Twickenham was brought to its feet by a string of swashbuckling runs.

Armitage was the pick of a lightning-quick back three that included Ugo Monye and Paul Sackey on the wings, and Cipriani is eager to see the trio in action again. "Delon has massive potential. He's been very unlucky because he's been playing very well for the last three years and has just broken into the England team," the Wasps star said. "He's very safe under the high ball but also has that magic about him. He's a fantastic player.

"There's so much potential in this back three - we just have to get them going forward and get the ball in their hands. Ugo had a go several times against the Islanders and showed how quick he can be. It's a really bright future for us."

Armitage and Monye were two of five new caps awarded at Twickenham on Saturday with Dylan Hartley, Nick Kennedy and Riki Flutey completing the quintet. Three of the debutants started in the backs and Cipriani was impressed by the speed of their transition to the Test arena.

"As a fly-half, you have to try and take a lot of responsibility and guide the guys through," he said. "But a lot of the guys didn't see this as their first game. With Riki it was just like another game for us because we're 10 and 12 at Wasps. Jamie Noon at outside centre is very experienced while Ugo and Delon fitted in pretty well.

"Sackey's the old man in the back three but he still scored two tries."

Cipriani himself endured a mixed afternoon, finishing with a 19-point haul that included a first-half try, yet seeing a clearance charged down to hand the Islanders their only touch down. After Seru Rabeni had capitalised, Cipriani then botched the restart, but the Wasps fly-half insists he was never flustered by the errors.

"When I make a mistake I move on and don't really think about it. Some people might make a deal about it but I don't," he said. "I just get on with the game. I wasn't thinking about the restart either. I'm not the sort of person to dwell on things. It was obviously a mistake by me but I have other players to worry about.

"I need to get other players into the game so I can't start dwelling on my mistakes."

Australia are the next opponents to arrive at Twickenham and Cipriani hopes the conditions next Saturday will enable England to play an expansive game. "Australia are one of the best teams around and we'll have to make sure we don't make so many mistakes," he said. "We tried to play some rugby in the wet weather and we'd like a dry day against Australia."

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