The Quickie

A bite-sized look at this week's news…

Jonny v Danny: Who is the Perfect 10?

Posted by elinord on October 14, 2008

After a recent knee injury, England rugby star, Jonny Wilkinson is finally feeling the effects of his age. Only 29 however, the imminent arrival of the youthful Danny Cipriani, sees new competition for the number 10 spot on the England squad.

Wilkinson suffered a dislocation of the knee during a Newcastle Falcons match against Gloucester, abolishing all his hopes of a problem free season. This is clearly a great blow for the golden-boy of rugby as he has been plagued by injury for the last 5 years – missing countless international games.

So now, waiting in the wings is the 20 year-old Cipriani who has quickly recovered from an ankle injury and shown his ambition to be “England’s greatest fly half”, as Stephen Jones suggests in

What is Wilkinson’s response to this reshuffle? The former England captain gave The Sunday Times his thoughts on Cipriani “He’s a good guy who wants to play at his best”. Definitely a promising comment from a player who has performed so well in the past. Yet watching Cipriani stride back into the England squad, while he limps out must be a great set back and Wilkinson goes onto agree, “things can be hugely frustrating and quite problematic if it’s all about you.”

Determined not to be defeated, Wilkinson sets a refreshing new image whilst he watches at the side-lines for the next 5 months. This should also be an encouraging example to Cipriani, who in recent months has had more play off the pitch. His spats with a fellow player during a London Wasps training session is a far cry from a sedate Wilkinson approach.

Recent comparisons between the two star players have revealed that Cipriani is much more comfortable with the attention from fans and the media, whereas Wilkinson admits he has purposefully shied away from cameras “I used to believe the camera guys were deliberately trying to separate me from the team.”  Embracing this celebrity status seems to come quite naturally for Cipriani; his recent links with famous women and high-profile parties suggest his confidence on the pitch is transcending into arrogance off the pitch. Stuart Higgins, Cipriani’s media adviser says “He wants to be the greatest fly half in the world and does not want to be a celebrity” which contradicts, “The way Danny is perceived could turn into a real problem in the dressing-room” from a source close to the Wasps.

Although Wilkinson avoids bust-ups with fellow team mates and the party circuit, he admits he’s handled fame awkwardly and only now has found a balance between his game and personal life. Cipriani has proved his game potential through donning the number 10 shirt; all he needs to realise now is that he must perform in next month’s international matches in order to deflect from his rising profile.

Elinor D. Davies (

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