Eddie Jones’s fears over Marcus Smith sum up rugby’s outdated, backward mindset, according to former England golden boy Danny Cipriani, who found himself in a similar situation back in 2017.
The Bath fly-half was on the money with his assessment of rugby’s problem, and he rightfully highlighted the hypocrisy of the England bosses recent comments.
“Jones is worried about Marcus Smith being distracted by fame and praise, but that’s the sort of old-school mentality that is holding rugby back,” wrote Cipriani in his fantastic column for the Mail Online.
“There should be an attempt to raise the profile and popularity of the game because it hasn’t really progressed that much in the past decade. At one point it was the No 2 sport in the country, but others have promoted themselves better.
“Other sports have created superstars — and are very proactive in doing so — but rugby has never done that. The game is almost failing in that way, because of outdated attitudes towards any individual who receives attention.
“This backward mind-set is unique to rugby. Everything in the game has moved forward except the commercialisation and promotion of it.
“When you look online, you realise that Jones does plenty of commercial stuff. I was looking on Twitter and saw pictures of him kissing a crab in some advert!”
Read Cipriani’s full column by CLICKING HERE.
- Wednesday’s Transfer Round-Up: Farrell, MacGinty, Reid…
- Tuilagi is in the shape of his life after body transformation
- Top 10 hated sports team revealed by new survey
- Barrett, Itoje and Kolbe: What is the best-paid XV in world rugby?
- SQUAD UPDATE: Eddie Jones confirms Joe Marler replacement
- Five rugby internationals who overcame disabilities
Fans pick the England’s worst ever XV, including Sam Burgess
Fullback: Mark Van Gisbergen
Yes, he has a cap – only a fleeting one, as a late replacement for Mark Cueto against Australia in 2005 – but he does boast a 100% winning ratio in international colours, so you can’t knock that.
His main strengths were dropping the high ball under limited pressure and getting gassed on the outside.
Winger: Barrie-Jon Mather
He became the first player to represent Great Britain in Rugby League and England in Union. His move to union was part funded by the RFU, who were embarking on a strategy of converting some of leagues best talent.
However, Mather struggled to make an impact with Sale and moved back to Castleford in 2000. In spite of his poor form with Sale, Clive Woodward gave Mather his debut against Wales in the famous Grand Slam decider in 1999. However, Mather never played for England again after Wales won the game 32-31, following Scott Gibbs’ superb try.
Centre: Joel Tomkins
Tomkins began his League career with Wigan in 2005 and outside of a short stint with the Widnes Vikings in 2007, played with the Warriors until moving to Saracens in 2011.
While Tomkins initially struggled to adapt to union, but his form during the beginning of the 2013/14 season saw him earn an England cap against Australia in November 2013. Although he went on to make two further international appearances, he looked completely out of his depth and returned to league soon after.
Centre: Sam Burgess
England, who fast-tracked Burgess into their World Cup squad in defiance of logic, Bath and the player himself each shoulder varying degrees of blame for arguably the greatest cross-code flop in history. We’re not saying he was an awful player, but the whole thing was a complete disaster.
Winger: Lesley Vanikolo
The Volcano’ stormed onto the scene for Gloucester, doing something ridiculous like scoring five tries on his debut against Leeds, before qualifying for England on residency grounds. International honours followed, with Vainikolo making his England debut against Wales in 2008. However, he failed to bring his try-scoring form to the international scene and was quickly dropped from Martin Johnston’s squad after winning five caps.