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Jimmy Gopperth aims to join Brad Thorn in elite Premiership club

By Chris Jones
Jimmy Gopperth of Leicester Tigers celebrates with team mates Freddie Steward and Ollie Chessum (L) after their victory during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers at Franklin's Gardens on September 24, 2022 in Northampton, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Jimmy Gopperth is hoping to become only the second player to feature in the Premiership at the age of 40, matching fellow New Zealander and former Leicester Tiger Brad Thorn, the current Queensland head coach.


Gopperth, the former Leinster, Newcastle and Wasps back, is the fourth highest scorer in Premiership history with 1721 including 342 penalties and 283 conversions and helped Leicester, the defending champions win 25-22 at London Irish and is on duty against Bath tomorrow.

Gopperth, who turns 40 on June 29, is part of a vastly experienced back line featuring fellow thirtysomethings Mike Brown, Ben Youngs and Chris Ashton and they are helping the club deal with the absence of England Six Nations stars including Freddie Steward, Ollie Chessum and Jack van Poortvliet.

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However, far from seeing this season as a finale to his remarkable career, 39-year-old Gopperth is aiming to continue his top flight rugby journey. With ex-Wallabies assistant coach Dan McKellar taking over as Leicester head coach next season, Gopperth needs to prove his worth to the new man but could also do a job for another Premiership club.

Gopperth, who has played more than 200 Premiership games, is in his first season at Tigers after joining from crisis hit Wasps and is being coy about next season’s options. He said: “I still feel very fit and healthy and have a lot more to give. I am going to be playing on next season and I am looking at options – what that may be- and I am still excited to play. You need experience in your team.

“The Premiership is one of the toughest leagues in the world and to get up to that mark is something I feel privileged to have achieved and also being able to keep playing. I am very happy to continue and I really enjoy the work ethic at Tigers. I love how everyone works so hard.

“When you walk into a new club there are 50 mates straight away with everyone on the same wavelength and that’s pretty special. It would be pretty stupid if those of us in the squad with so much knowledge did not share it and help the other guys.”



Gopperth has maintained his enthusiasm for rugby by ensuring he has off-the-field interests including a love of surfing and golf while he has helped coach Nuneaton Old Edwardians for six years for and set up his kicking academy ‘Jimmy G Kicking Tee’. He added: “Freddie Burns did a bit of surfing and I am sure he will be doing some down in Dunedin now. The guys prefer to get on the golf course. Those things outside rugby keep my mind fresh any why I haven’t been burnt out.”


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