Can the Golden Boy of English Rugby Give Wasps Back Their Sting?
The start to the 2008/09 Guinness Premiership campaign hasn't gone exactly to plan for the reigning champions with a combination of injuries, losses and disciplinary hearings. So far this season London Wasps have managed to lose all three premiership outings leaving them lingering in an unfamiliar place at the bottom of the table, however there could be a light at the end of hopefully a very short tunnel.
Danny Cipriani, the Professional Rugby Players Association Young Player of the Year, is back in the Wasps fold after suffering what was considered a near career threatening injury back in May against Bath in the Premiership playoffs.
Cipriani shot to fame last year when his combination of raw talent, speed, and rugby vision helped Wasps from a struggling mid table to the playoffs last season and this was just the start. The young Wasp went on to be picked for Brian Ashton's 2008 Six Nations squad and then to take the place of 2003 hero Jonny Wilkinson in the starting lineup for the Ireland match which England went on to win 33-10, the first Six Nations victory over the Irish since 2003.
It seemed that England had found a new talisman and for the first time in long, long time England fans were anticipating the summer tour to New Zealand, to see what the newly revitalized squad could do against the mighty All Blacks.
Alas, for Cipriani it was not to be, during the playoff game with Bath the young Fly-half suffered a horrific ankle fracture-dislocation after being trapped at the bottom of a ruck, putting him out of action until October.
What happened over the summer was somewhat reminiscent of the 1998 tour of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa dubbed the "Tour from Hell," as England went on to lose the Test series 2 - 0.
But with the autumn internationals fast approaching, Martin Johnson for one will be pleased to see Cipriani's almost remarkable recovery coming to an end much sooner than anticipated, as will the Wasps coach Ian McGeechan whos team will be glad for the moral boost going into a huge clash with Premiership leaders Leicester on the weekend.
With Cipriani targeting a return as soon as Wasps midweek fixture against Bath on the 1st October, many a Wasps fan will be gripped to their seats anticipating the successful return of the youngster to a black and gold jersey.
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