Marcus Smith: Danny Cipriani tells England to let the fly-half trust his instincts

Marcus Smith: Danny Cipriani tells England to let the fly-half trust his instincts

Danny Cipriani’s final England cap came in June 2018

Former England fly-half Danny Cipriani has said England’s coaches will get the best out of Marcus Smith if they let him trust his instincts.

Smith orchestrated England’s late comeback from 25-6 down to draw 25-25 against New Zealand on Saturday.

And Cipriani feels the Harlequins fly-half should be given greater freedom to fulfil his potential for England.

“He got selected because he’s Marcus Smith – so let him be Marcus Smith,” Cipriani told BBC Look East.

“You have to trust that he’ll make the right decision at the right time.”

Smith’s attacking verve and natural flair seen in many thrilling displays for Harlequins in the Premiership has been seldom replicated for England in his 16 caps to date.

The 23-year-old was again named at fly-half for England’s final Test of the autumn internationals, against South Africa on Saturday.

Cipriani also plays on Saturday, making his return to rugby for the Barbarians at Northampton having not played since leaving Bath at the end of last season.

Of England’s stirring comeback against the All Blacks, Cipriani, 35, said it was the perfect example of why players should be allowed more autonomy.

“That’s where the coach has got to give the group the freedom to go and do that,” he said.

“The situation of the game created that – it wasn’t necessarily to do with the coach. But how do you create the environment to be like that?

“It doesn’t mean everyone can just go and do what they want; they’ve still got to do what’s right for the team at the right time.

“But if you’re making your own choice willingly, that’s always going to be better than someone telling you what to do.”

Instinct has been a hallmark of Cipriani’s rugby but his England career ended at 16 caps – the last of those coming in South Africa in June 2018 when he delivered a perfectly-weighted cross kick to set up the winning try.

“When I was 18, a senior England player said to me, ‘Danny you’re so talented but you’ve just got to play the game,’ and it didn’t make sense to me.

“As a young, cocky kid, that didn’t feel right to me. I wanted to play how I wanted to play.

“If you give players freedom to make decisions, the game will look different.

“It won’t be the same box-kick chase, there will be some ingenuity and some excitement and I think the sport will grow.”

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