Mercurial flyhalf Danny Cipriani has remained one of English Rugby’s great enigmas since making his international debut in 2008.
An underage superstar Cipriani took the Premiership by storm playing in a very successful Wasps side.
His international debut was something to behold as he replaced the legendary Johnny Wilkinson and guided England to an impressive 33 – 10 victory over Ireland.
Since then however his career has been a start stop career, highlighted by making the seemingly impossible look easy whilst struggling to ever really breakthrough at international level.
Off field issues plagued his career and were no doubt a major factor in his international or lack therefore opportunities.
In particular his relationship with current England head coach Eddie Jones has been tumultuous.
Never really seeing eye-to-eye with Jones, Cipriani missed out on the opportunity to add to his sixteen test caps.
Both men have been outspoken throughout their career and Jones’s recent outburst about the English private school system has landed him in some hot water with the English Rugby public and administrators.
Cipriani has now added his opinion on the Jones saga and it is not flattering. Writing in the Dailymail, Cipriani put Jones on blast saying.
“The reason Eddie is not getting the type of players he says he wants is because of the environment he creates with England and not the schooling system. That is an easy target,”
“The private school system in England has allowed a lot of people to flourish and have successful rugby careers who might not have done so had they gone to other places of education. I count myself among that number.
“Don’t get me wrong, the private system is not perfect. It misses a lot of potential talent.
“Historically, there has been a systemic class issue within English rugby because of who the majority of the participants are.
“The RFU do need to do more to make the game more inclusive for everyone. They need to try to attract people from every class of society and increase participation.
“A lot of that can be pointed back to how the RFU runs things. But that is a different point from the one which Eddie raised about the lack of leadership in his players.”
Cipriani, who has never seen eye-to-eye with Jones, was particularly critical of the England head coach in his column.
“Eddie should look at himself rather than criticise others. The environment you create as a coach is reflected by the performance of your team and players,” he wrote.
“If a coach creates a decision-making environment which allows his or her players to problem solve, have an input on how the team is run, and is self-reflective of his or her own performance, then their side’s ability to react under pressure will grow. Eddie does not do that.
“When the team loses, Eddie points the finger elsewhere. The situations he creates in training are all about generating quick ball. If the ball is not quick, then he turns it over.
“The players are told exactly what to do by Eddie and how the game will go, they struggle to react when things do not go to plan.
“Again, to be clear, this is not down to their education but is the fault of the England set-up, driven by Jones as head coach.”
Going further Cipriani believes Jones’s utilitarian approach to leadership is what has stunted England’s growth. Pointing to the example of Danny Care being put into the international wilderness having reportedly challenged Jones’s methods.
“Any player who speaks his mind in this England environment is dismissed. Just look at what happened to Danny Care.
“He spent four years away because he confronted Eddie. Surely a coach who wants players to think for themselves would encourage two-way conversation?”
“For England to go to the next level and produce consistent, winning rugby, they need an environment which regularly challenges the players on their rugby intelligence and decision-making. If they get that, it will create a group who can problem-solve on the run in games.
“Many things can be looked at in rugby and where the player pool comes from is one of them. But rather than focus on that, let’s start with an England coach who takes responsibility.”