Danny Cipriani defends Borthwick after scathing criticism of English rugby
By Rugby Onslaught

Danny Cipriani defends Borthwick after scathing criticism of English rugby

Former England flyhalf Danny Cipriani’s lengthy criticism of English rugby went viral over the weekend after Steve Borthwick’s side slumped to another lacklustre loss to Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

Though there were a few signs of improvement from two lifeless performances against Wales, England were still a way off a rusty Ireland’s standard, losing 29-10.

In response, the 16-cap flyhalf wrote on X that English rugby is “digging its own grave” by the way it is coached, suggesting England’s performances are a byproduct of an “outdated” rugby culture throughout the country.

He wrote: “English rugby is digging its own grave, led by people that do not understand the art of the game. It’s steeped in tradition and heritage which is out dated and the very thing shackling the game. The game is coached at step 2/3, lowest common denominator. Never step one, game understanding/intelligence, spacial recognition, nuance. It is all how tough can I show to the world I am. Bravado. It will only ever bring a certain level of performance. Open discussions where coaches welcome new ideas that feel uncomfortable to them because it’s the only way it will grow. Don’t be Sam Allardyce when you can be Pep Guardiola. Attack space in every aspect and build confidence in players decision making not conform to a plan. Have a framework but be flexible. All aligned under the vision of someone who you want to follow or have qualities that you admire… knowledge, compassion, passion, emotional intelligence, love, honesty and humility. If you’re trained to think and not to feel you’re always going to be one step behind.”

Understandably, this was construed as an attack on Borthwick himself and the way he has this England team playing. Cipriani responded to one comment saying: “It doesn’t mean Borthwick isn’t right for the job. He has clearly grown from a player to a coach. He over took a very wooden system left by Eddie. Which is a very tough job to get the players to unlearn what was ingrained in them.”

Cipriani also took the opportunity to defend football coach Sam Allardyce, who some fans thought he had unfairly singled out. He explained that Allardyce was innovative one, but football has changed, just as rugby has, which leaves some coaches outdated.