Johnson wishes Cipriani well in Super 15
February 23, 2010
The England management have wished Danny Cipriani well in Australia © Getty Images
England manager Martin Johnson has wished Danny Cipriani luck following his decision to join the Melbourne Rebels Super 15 franchise.
The fly-half has been out of the international picture since 2008, with rumours of a rift between the player and management rife. Johnson has denied the claims however, insisting that Cipriani was properly managed when with England.
"We spoke last week and I wished him good luck," he said. "He has got bags of potential but lots of players in our squad have that."
Attack coach Brian Smith also laughed off suggestions that Cipriani had been poorly treated after returning from a serious ankle injury for the 2008 November series.
"When we picked the squad for this series, Cips had been injured. He didn't have any form behind him. We have to go in with the two 10s we think are firing. That is our judgement," he said. "The conversations I had with Danny were civilised and he understood where we were coming from."
Smith moved from Australia to Ireland during his playing career, winning Test caps for both countries, and believes that Cipriani will benefit from the move and has gone for the right reasons.
"I am not sorry to see him go in as much as I think he can grow from the experience," he said. "Super Rugby is free-flowing and it will suit him down to the ground. There will be some good influences on him, he is still young and it will be a chance to develop his game.
"The disappointment is that by going down there he is almost taking himself out of the running and you don't want to see any of your positions diluted in talent. I did the same thing 20 years ago and I think I was a better player for it. I think Danny has done it for the right reasons. He has made that call and he has got to make it a winner. I hope he comes back a better player because we all have a stake in Danny Cipriani.
"I will stay in touch with him, that is my role. But I would point out that stake is not bigger or smaller than for any of the other fly-halves. But we are fortunate that we have some very good players in that position. We have to provide the same opportunities for Wilkinson, Flood, Charlie Hodgson, Shane Geraghty, Stephen Myler and maybe Alex Goode could come through. Saracens have promised to give him a run at 10 next year. We are in a healthy position. We have five or six guys who could do a job for us at the World Cup."
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