Danny Cipriani has revealed he will finish his playing career at Gloucester after signing a new three-year deal and paid tribute to the work head coach Johan Ackermann has achieved since arriving from South Africa.
Cipriani ended speculation linking him with another move in a career that has seen his exceptional talent constantly ignored by England by opting for a new Gloucester contract despite claims he could have opted out of the West Country club.
The influence of Ackermann, whose Gloucester side cemented third place in the Premiership with a 27-23 win over arch-rivals Bath, is one of the key reasons for Cipriani’s decision and he said: “The plan is after these three years to retire. We will see how that pans out and I will be 34 at the end of that season and it is has been a long stint and I have my best years ahead of me.
“There were a lot of key decisions to be made and negotiations and like Brexit it could have been done in January!
“The team’s performances underpin the way that Johan speaks because it is not just about rugby. It is also about growing and developing men and his message is about inspiring. He tells us stories about things he has heard and we are grateful to be able to do what we do, whether the boys understand the mentality or not it slowly penetrates minds.
Continue reading below…
“Some people buy into it straight away and with others it takes time and over the course of last two seasons you can see the way this team plays for each other and it’s pretty outstanding. You are often a reflection of your head coach and I have learnt that in rugby. The way Johan he is can be seen on field with the skill, attacking, execution and shape that is down to the coaches. The coaches and players bring the attacking shape and we are all rooting for each other at the moment. This is a very unselfish team.”
"Cipriani… Almost disinterested!" ?
"I'm not looking, and neither are you!"
Danny Cipriani with the no-look, 360 assist? ?
Sounds about right… That is outrageous! pic.twitter.com/7YOqftsJq5
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) April 13, 2019
Cipriani, who has a groin injury, delivered a wonder “no look” pass to put prop Josh Hohneck in for a crucial first try after Gloucester fought back from 17-0 down and revealed he had pulled off the same sleight of hand to take Wales and Lions centre Jamie Roberts out of the play a few years ago. Roberts fell for the move again and Cipriani said: “I saw Jamie Roberts was opposite Josh and did something similar to him three years ago and I wanted to see if he had learnt!
“It (groin) was touch and go and I didn’t train all week but I am not some kind of hero – it just happens – and I couldn’t run all week but then it settled down and I was able to run at around 60-70 percent.
“We have experienced guys in this team who have a lot of fight in them and they proved that. Willie Heinz is one of the best captains I have worked under and is very calm because we know that at any moment we can strike. It is going to be very tough playing against Exeter or Saracens and we are not in the play-offs yet and if you look at what they have built over the last decade and they are outstanding at what they do.”
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.