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Page last updated at 19:19 GMT, Monday, 5 January 2009

Cipriani kicking problem targeted

Danny Cipriani
Cipriani had two attempted clearances blocked against Harlequins on Sunday

England kicking coach Jon Callard says he can help Danny Cipriani eradicate the charge-downs which are increasingly blighting the fly-half's game.

Cipriani, 21, has made a number of kicking errors for Wasps and England which opponents have capitalised on.

"If your confidence is sapped and you are struggling for a good connection, you'd like to have a little bit more time on the ball," said Callard.

"That could be an issue at the moment. [But] it can be rectified."

Cipriani has burst onto the scene over the past 18 months but suffered a chastening experience in the November internationals, when he was dropped by England manager Martin Johnson.

In seven Tests Cipriani has seen Italy, the Pacific Islanders and South Africa all score tries after successfully charging down his kicks and Johnson has warned that the youngster will start being specifically targeted unless the fault is rectified.

"The problems he had with England during the November internationals were partly because we were on the back foot and partly the time on the ball," said Callard.

"It is something I would certainly like to work with Danny on sorting out."

That opportunity will come ahead of England's next match, an opening Six Nations encounter against Italy on 7 February at Twickenham.

Callard plans to point out the technique of the specialist kickers in another sport in order to help the Wasps player think and act differently.

"When you receive the ball on the back foot and under severe pressure, you need to have a snap and then to get the ball away within one pace, like they do in American Football," said Callard.

Callard also believes Cipriani is still recovering his confidence after suffering a badly fractured dislocation to his right ankle in May.

"From my dealings with Danny during the autumn internationals, he did exceptionally well to get back from that ankle injury and that will have an impact on his kicking. It is a fact," he added.

"The joint needs time to warm up, he needs to get it fluid so he can get the sort of flexibility required for his plant foot."

Cipriani had two attempted clearances blocked against Harlequins on Sunday, the second of which was charged down by Nick Evans and led to Wasps conceding a five metre scrum and ultimately a penalty try.

Though Wasps won the game 24-18, coach Shaun Edwards described it as a "real issue" and Edwards criticised Cipriani for being too slow in getting the ball away and for not getting enough trajectory on his kick.

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see also
Wasps 24-18 Harlequins
04 Jan 09 |  English
McGeechan upset by England rules
04 Jan 09 |  English
Dallaglio urges Cipriani to stay
04 Dec 08 |  London Wasps
Cipriani told to improve defence
13 Nov 08 |  English
Jeremy Guscott column
09 Nov 08 |  English
England 39-13 Pacific Islanders
08 Nov 08 |  English

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