Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Tyrone Howe: Cipriani and Henson are proof that every circus needs clowns

The Cipriani and Henson show continues ad infinitum, and forgiveness is increasingly in short supply.

It is one thing falling out with a coach or a manager, but losing the support of your fellow players is a whole different ball game.

In all the years involved with or watching rugby, the case of the Melbourne Rebels players voting to bar Danny Cipriani from travelling to South Africa for their two games, is a first for me.

Things don’t get much more fractured than that.

Gavin Henson has received a temporary reprieve by Toulon, but one wonders whether this has more to do with the World Cup denying the French side of many of their top players rather than a major vote of confidence.

Warren Gatland has to be careful that a similar Cipriani-esque situation does not develop within in the Welsh squad.

Already, former Wales skipper, Michael Owen, has gone on record to state that Henson is being rewarded without having earned the shirt or privilege of playing for his country. Many will share his stance.

The major gamble taken by Warren Gatland is a reflection on how desperate he is for Wales to start winning again, but the risk is that it alienates other players. Rugby is a game based upon the premise that you trust and rely on the guys around you. Mess with that and it is only a matter of time before the team is exposed.

Rumours have it that Toulon are talking to Cipriani as potential World Cup cover. Danny and Gav together?

The marketing campaign will be simple: ‘Roll up! Roll up! The circus is in town’.

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