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Danny Cipriani - is this the farewell Gallagher Premiership tour?

By Paul Smith

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Danny Cipriani begins the season with his fourth Gallagher Premiership club when Bath travel to former employers Sale next Saturday.

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As with Andy Goode and Chris Ashton before him, there will be plenty of “Danny derbies” this season – but despite being 33 and away from the field for almost a year the former England no.10 is relishing the prospect of being back in the spotlight.

He told the Daily Mail: “It could be my last year, or I could play one more, who knows?

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“You’ve just got to take every moment as best as you can. As cliched as it sounds, I just want to take it game by game and get that game-day feeling in me again because I’ve missed it, for sure.

“As you get older, you’re more conscious of things, you’re more aware of things, you reflect more, you’re excited about the future and you’re grateful for what you’ve got.

“During my time off, at the start, I genuinely thought I was going to retire. I felt like I’d had enough. Not in a negative way, because I enjoyed my time at Gloucester, but I just felt like my journey had run its course.

“I’d been on the conveyor belt since I was 17 years old. I was disappointed I didn’t make the World Cup squad because that was something I’d been working towards. I got player of the season that year so I was hoping to get a look in, but it didn’t happen.

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“You think, ‘What’s next?’ How do you keep rejuvenating yourself?

“I parked rugby for a while. I needed some time to gather my thoughts but I started watching it again in February and I was on the edge of my seat, I missed it. The grind of rugby’s tough but you’ve got to be grateful for the fact that we get to do it.”

Cipriani is now an elder statesman among a group of Premiership fly halves which features thrusting young talent such as Marcus Smith and Jacob Umaga.

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And with law changes aiming to speed up the sport being introduced in England for the first time next weekend, Bath’s new no.10 sees plenty to fire his imagination.

“The expansive way Quins won the league was a great advert for rugby,” he said.

“Marcus Smith has got all the skills and it was good to see a club buying into their own identity and going after it.

“The new rules are trying to bring in a faster paced game and it will start going that way. It will bring in a few new questions and hopefully at Bath we can use that to play on the run and play some exciting rugby.

“The All Blacks seem to be leading the way as always. Richie Mo’unga is probably the standout no.10 right now.

“I saw some of the stuff that Finn Russell was doing (for the Lions) and that injection of life he put into the game seemed like it helped – he was on fire. Finn made a difference when he came on with his inventiveness and his ability to play on the gain-line but it was a bit too late.

“There’s definitely more enjoyable ways to play the game and that’s what World Rugby’s trying to do by adapting the laws.

“The 50:22 and the goal-line drop out are ways to create more space on the field – defences are getting better and you’ve got to find new ways to break them down.”

 

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Danny Cipriani - is this the farewell Gallagher Premiership tour?

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