Lipman prepared to grab second England chance

The Australian-raised flanker cannot wait to tackle Italy and France after being recalled to the team, writes Tim Glover

You can take the player out of Australia but you can't take the Oz out of Michael Lipman. "I can't wait to take on the Frenchies," the Bath flanker said. It wasn't only politically incorrect but premature. It wasn't, however, a statement born of arrogance.

In the West Country they do not call him "Lipman the Lip". He just got a bit carried away. After 18 long months he has been recalled to the red rose cause for his Six Nations debut and to say he was as high as a kookaburra on coke is an understatement. "It just feels great," he said, after making the short journey from his home in Bath to England's headquarters at the Bath Spa Hotel. Very resplendent. I didn't think this was possible but the Bath Spa has outpriced the Pennyhill Park, England's former HQ near Bagshot, for a glass of red wine: £12 as opposed to £10. The RFU should start looking at a Travelodge.

Before England play France in Paris in a few weeks' time, they have to tackle Italy in Rome on Sunday and Lipman, after rave reviews with the Bath back row this season, has been recalled as a specialist No 7. It is partly on form, more so on the fact that England's back row was decimated during the extraordinary capitulation against Wales at Twickenham last Sunday. The entire squad is still in a state of shock, including Lipman who was called up as a back-row reinforcement towards the end of last week and therefore was among the 82,500 who watched, in a trance-like state, England's imitation of a lemming.

"I couldn't believe what I was seeing," he said. "There were so many mistakes by individuals. The way Wales scored their tries was down to our mistakes. There was a frustration that we didn't do things right. We played well for 60 minutes so the result was massively disappointing. Afterwards there was an anger and that is not a term that we use lightly. We didn't play to our potential."

Lipman won a handful of caps in 2006; he played against the All Blacks and twice against Australia, his last appearance coming in Melbourne. Lewis Moody failed a late fitness test and Lipman, who was not in the original 22, was promoted the day before the game.

"I was in a losing side but I thought I played OK," he said. If he thought he was OK, then he was almost certainly better than that. Then he got a shoulder injury and in this game out of sight is out of mind. "Once you're out of the frame you need to prove your form and fitness and string some performances together," Lipman admitted.

"I always thought I would pull on the England jersey again. I've been playing well for Bath because the team has been playing well. We've also got strong half-backs and that makes my job a lot easier. Brian [Ashton] wants England to play with pace, with fast ball and that's something he used to do with Bath."

Last Saturday England lost Moody and then his replacement Tom Rees and were forced to play the lock Ben Kay out of position. Ashton referred to Lipman as an "out-and-out openside flanker." In other words an old-fashioned No 7.

"I'm not old-fashioned," he protested. "I hope that what I bring to the pack is power and pace and that I do a lot of work on the floor and at the breakdown. I see myself as a link player, a ball player and the role is just as important as a specialist hooker. Since Neil Back retired the position has not been dominated by one player. With another chance I now want to give the coaches a bit of a headache."

Lipman was born in London and his family emigrated to Australia when he was five. Sixteen years later he returned to Blighty and earned a living as a rugby professional with Bristol, where for two years he worked with Dean Ryan. Having made the short journey to Bath he is in his fifth season at the Recreation Ground.

Things are going well at the club but not that well – why else would Steve Borthwick, the captain, choose to defect to Saracens at the end of this season? As a result Borthwick has lost the captaincy. "It's a great shame to see him go," Lipman said. "We will not only lose a player but a really good coach. He's helped me so much with my line-out work."

And that's another factor that has got Lipman back in the limelight. Bring on the Frenchies? It's the thought of playing France in Paris in a few weeks' time that excited him. He is professional enough to know that if he doesn't do what he's supposed to do against the Italians then he could become history part two.

"I expect a very physical, very confrontational, very tough game in Rome. In fact, it will be brutal. The pressure is on us but I can't wait to get out there and play alongside the likes of Jonny Wilkinson. I'm pretty confident and very, very happy. It feels great."

All his family are back in Sydney, where his twin brother, James, plays scrum-half for Warringah. On the rugby field there is not a lot of confusion between the two. Michael is recognised as a top-notch, old-fashioned even, breakaway flanker... James is a part-timer. His day job, if that is the correct way of putting it, is running nightclubs.

Suggested Topics
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
News
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments