Cipriani Wins Rugby Players’ Association Player of the Year Award

11/05/2019 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Gallagher Premiership Rugby

Cipriani Wins Rugby Players' Association Player of the Year Award

It’s fair to say the career of Danny Cipriani has had is ups and downs.  In May 2019 the England international was crowned the Rugby Players’ Association Player of the Year for the first time in his career.

This is a special award because it is not handed out by the league organisers or a sponsor.  It is voted for by the players and the fly-half came top of the poll thanks to the votes of his fellow professionals.  Cipriani has been key in taking Gloucester through to the playoffs this season by finishing inside the top four.  It is the first time in eight years Gloucester have finished in the Premiership top four and they face a trip to either Exeter or Saracens in the Premiership semi-finals.

Cipriani has recently signed a new long term deal with Gloucester and it appears the player and perhaps the man, is ready to settle down.

Having come through the Wasps academy, Cipriani made his debut at the age of 17 and having played in various positions, started to establish himself at fly-half in 2007/08.  It wasn’t long before the first controversy emerged and Cipriani was involved in an altercation with teammate Josh Lewsey which left him with facial injuries.

However, following a nasty ankle injury which ruled him out of England’s tour of New Zealand, Cipriani was praised for his attitude and determination on coming back from the blow.  Injuries is something Cipriani would become used to over his career and they have prevented him from cementing a place in the England team.

Having left Wasps for Melbourne Rebels in 2010, Cipriani become the first England international to join an Australian team in Super Rugby.  The Englishman started well but his off the pitch behaviour was being questioned.  Cipriani was accused of taking a bottle of vodka from behind a bar and was stood down from a match with a teammate following poor standards which failed to meet that of the club.

Cipriani has since played for Sale before re-joining Wasps and now Gloucester, where he played his first season in 2018/19.

Even in 2018, the off pitch problems continued to follow Cipriani around and he was charged with common assault, larceny, assault on police and resisting arrest during a preseason tour.  This was in addition to a drink driving charge in 2015.

In terms of his international career, Cipriani has played 16 times for England but has never had a regular place in the team.  The question is, will this award and his performances this season thrust Cipriani into the thoughts of Eddie Jones ahead of the 2019 World Cup?

International rugby is becoming more open and Cipriani could present an interesting option at number 10.  If Gloucester were to meet Saracens in the playoffs this year, Cipriani would come up against the current England captain and fly-half, Owen Farrell.

If Cipriani can have a big impact on the match, he could make himself difficult to ignore and the prospect of a call-up to the World Cup squad will improve.  In a career of highs and lows, could we see an international grand finale in Japan?