The Melbourne Rebels roll into the RDS tonight, and while the Anglesea Terrace Ultras will have all eyes fixed on the performance of a young Leinster team with a number of debutants, two big names in the visitor’s side will provide another focus to the casual viewer.
Stirling Mortlock and Danny Cipriani are big names in world rugby, despite the fact that neither of them are perhaps the draw they were three years ago. Back in 2008, Mortlock was the captain of the Wallabies, and Cipriani was coming off a magnificent performance where he oversaw the dismantling of Ireland in the final game of the Six Nations at Twickenham. Within the English rugby media, the rush to acclaim Cipriani as the heir to injury-prone Jonny Wilkinson – ‘injury-prone’ is putting it mildly; maybe ‘injury-decimated’ is more accurate – may have been unseemly, but it wasn’t totally without evidence. Cipriani’s game that day showed a rounded game management and leadership that, allied to his natural pace and footballing skills, seemed to mark him out as a potentially world class outside half.