FEELING SORRY (just a little) for CIPRIANI
Whether he actually courts publicity is arguable; it’s just he has a habit of having ladies on his arm that the paparazzi like to train their lenses on. He’s young and earning a good living in Australia’s great outdoors, playing his game in the world’s sporting capital. Jealous? Nah!
Yet it was no more than a 30-second news item on Sky Sports News on Friday night that infuriated me and made me, momentarily, feel sorry for the former Wasps outside-half. I refuse to call him the ‘former’ England outside-half.
It was always going to be tough for the Melbourne Rebels, taking to the Super 15 stage at the AAMI stadium, representing the state of Victoria, a state full of sports fanatics, be it AFL (Aussie Rules), cricket, rugby league, tennis, F1 or soccer. What’s more the opposition were the Waratahs from New South Wales and the Sydney-Melbourne rivalry is intense, be it sport, culture, or bars and restaurants.
A crowd of more than 25,000 was a terrific marketing effort by the Rebels and vindication of the decision to award Melbourne the Super franchise, with plenty of union support in the state and the Rebel Army already making itself heard.
There was no time in the Sky Sports clip to dwell on why the Waratahs had run out 43-0 winners on an historic day for Australian sport. But enough time to show Cipriani, who came on as a ninth minute substitute at outside-half, line up his only penalty attempt of the game. You could almost here the chuckle from the news presenter as she said: “Cipriani had one penalty shot – and missed.”
That was it. No mention about how the Englishman performed in other facets of the game. For the record he did pretty well behind a retreating pack and was especially strong in defence. In the second-half the Rebels, after a promising first-half with Welshman Gareth Delve to the fore at number 8, had a lot of defending to do.
Once Cipriani finds his feet and his forwards gain at least parity you suspect he is going to be a hit in the southern hemisphere and hopefully his picture will appear where it belongs, adorning the sports pages and he is critiqued as a sportsman not an errant rock star.
We give him grief – especially the media – for being a ‘celebrity’ (minor), enjoying the limelight and keep telling him to go away and concentrate on his rugby. No sooner does he do that – moving a mere 12,000 miles from home to get away – than the camera follows him as a ‘celeb’ and his missed penalty, admittedly not the toughest kick, is lampooned as the pratfall of a famous person. Pathetic. Good luck Danny.