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Danny Cipriani doesn’t want this to be all about what Eddie Jones said about him in his book, so apologies to the Gloucester playmaker for starting on that hot topic but it has to be addressed.
When he was asked this week how he felt about critical comments made by the England head coach in his autobiography, released last month, it was described by the questioner as the ‘elephant in the room’.
No wonder. Jones was damning about the character of a player he has largely viewed with suspicion since taking charge of the national team in December 2015.
Eddie Jones has been damning of Danny Cipriani’s character since taking charge of Engand
While the Australian noted his ‘quality’, improved attitude and maturity, he lamented the circus around him and reflected on a pre-season incident in Jersey last summer — when Cipriani pleaded guilty to assaulting a bouncer — by saying: ‘I was not too surprised. When a player consistently does stupid things, you don’t expect him to change much.’
Jones went on to offer a scathing assessment of how Cipriani had been emphatically upstaged by Owen Farrell in a Premiership semi-final at Allianz Park last May, describing it as ‘no contest’.
It is fair to say that these barbs from the man in charge of the Test side hit the target and stung.
Cipriani was reluctant to make a song and dance but said: ‘He said more about me in a book than he’s ever said to me. He’s never said two words to me. I found out everything I need to know from him through a book. I didn’t even read the book, someone just sent me his quotes. Is he thinking with his ego or is he thinking beyond? You would have to ask him. I don’t know how he operates.’
When challenged about Jones’ assertion that he is unable to change, Cipriani pointedly added: ‘What you say about other people is only true of what you think about yourself. Everyone’s a mirror. If you truly believe that, how have you changed or adapted over that period of time? I might have said the same thing about other people until you realise that everyone has the ability to change. I feel entirely different to how I did a couple of weeks ago. Hopefully I’ll keep learning and growing.’
Cipriani is reluctant to focus on Jones but admitted the coach has never ‘said two words’ to him
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