Former England international turned journalist and pundit, Austin Healey is never afraid to share his opinions with his latest target being Danny Cipriani.
Cipriani, who left Gloucester this week, said on his official Twitter account that he had made the decision “after much deliberation” and had “mixed emotions about it” but was “excited for the challenges I have ahead”.
The fly-half is often viewed by a lot of pundits and supporters as being a wasted talent due to mercurial playmaker only winning 16 caps for England.
However, Healey believes the number 10 hasn’t been unlucky during his career, but in fact was just never up to the job due to inconsistencies in his game.
“In truth, Danny never really hit the heights with England because he was never good enough,” wrote Healey in his column for The Telegraph.
“He was nowhere near as good as George Ford or Owen Farrell. He has thrown some amazing passes, he’s box office with an immense highlights reel, but if you were to play his 80-minute reel you would see a lot more negative than positive.
“You cannot play international rugby when your goal-kicking percentage starts with a seven – at best – either.
- All Black legend Dan Carter ranks his five toughest opponents
- The current 36-man Lions squad, according to the bookies
- Piers Morgan picks his all-time greatest rugby XV
- Every Premiership club’s best player out of contract in 2021
“As a player, he was only ever world class in his ability to manipulate an opposition defence – his distribution and passing – but only when it was on his terms. And that sums up everything about him.
“When everything is on his terms, he is great. But when he has to work for something or something is going slightly against him, he reverts back to ‘Media Cipriani’.”
Gloucester have moved quickly to fill the void in their squad by recruiting Scotland international Adam Hastings from Glasgow Warriors for next season.
20 Most Disappointing Players in England History
1. Christian Wade
The 2013 British & Irish Lion is poised to sensationally quit Wasps in order to pursue a lucrative career in the NFL, having grown disillusioned with rugby union. The 27-year-old is one of the most recognised names in the domestic game, but his continued absence from the international set-up – having won just one England cap on the 2013 tour of Argentina – has left him frustrated and fed up of continuously being overlooked. What a waste.
2. David Flatman
The now pundit for ITV, BT Sport and Channel 5 speaks a very good game but his opportunities at international level were not forthcoming. He won his first full caps as a replacement in the Tests against South Africa on the summer tour in 2000 but never really established himself as the first choice, finding himself behind Graham Rowntree in the pecking order. Winning just eight caps between 2000 and 2002, he’d probably walk into Eddie Jones latest squad.
3. Hugh Vyvyan
The Newcastle and Saracens legend, who made 245 Premiership appearances, won a deserved first England cap against Canada in the Investec Challenge match in 2004 and scored a try as captain. However, shockingly, this would be the only full test cap he’d ever win.
4. Dave Walder
The Geordie magician steered the Falcons to cup final glory in 2001 and 2004, the Durham University graduate playing four tests for England between 2001 and 2003. The fly-half made 87 Premiership appearances during his seven seasons at Kingston Park before going on to domestic and European glory with London Wasps. A great player, so it’s disappointing we didn’t see more of him at Test level.
5. Tom Varndell
An England international with four caps to his name, the wing became the Premiership’s all-time leading try-scorer during the 2016/17 campaign when he scored against Harlequins at Ashton Gate. Like Wade, it’s hard to believe he didn’t get more of a chance, scoring three tries in his four test caps.