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

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

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?