Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Chairman knows best III

I am still irritated by getting into a pointless debate with idiots on the website on the merits (or otherwise) of the ridiculous Danny Cipriani. My point is (and has always been), he may look good ball in hand on the front foot, but everything else about his game stinks, in particular his tackling. The idiots I was debating with were claiming he was the best FH in the Super XV, his defense was sound etc etc. Well bolocks. To quote from today's Herald Sun:

DANNY Cipriani is likely to be dropped to the bench for Saturday night's clash with NSW Waratahs unless Stirling Mortlock and Mark Gerrard fail fitness tests.
Melbourne selectors are frustrated by the Rebels' leaking defence - the club has conceded a Super Rugby high of 43 tries, 14 more than the bottom-placed Lions of Johannesburg.

Cipriani, who has played all but six minutes of the Rebels' nine matches, is the club's leading point-scorer with 89 points, sixth overall behind Western Force's James O'Connor (126).

But the five-eighth's defensive shortcomings, clearly exposed by the Otago Highlanders and Auckland Blues, will almost certainly have the England Test pivot starting on the bench against NSW.

Cipriani is likely to be replaced by James Hilgendorf, who started the season at No.10 but was injured in the opening minutes of the 43-0 Round 1 loss to the Waratahs.

Under rugby's tackle dominance rating, a measure of tackling effectiveness, Cipriani has a club-low figure of 42 per cent with 18 missed tackles.

That contrasts with hooker Ged Robinson, who has missed just three of 107 tackles, for a rating of 88 per cent.

Cipriani was held accountable for the Blues' first two tries in Auckland on Friday night, when he pushed up out of the line.

Asked if there were concerns about Cipriani's defence, Rebels coach Rod Macqueen said: "It's fair to say that. Danny's really got to work on that part of his game. Some of the other players have to as well.

"Most of the criticism that we cop is fair criticism.

"We're not a team who want to go out there and make excuses."

Asked if Cipriani was in danger of being dropped, Macqueen said: " No one is guaranteed a spot in the side. If we do that, we're working the team the right way. They've got to earn their spots and that will continue to be the case.

"Everyone knows Danny has got the worst defensive record in the competition."

The Chairman knows best.

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