Cipriani signs bumper three-year contract with Gloucester
England star rejects host of offers to commit to Kingsholm as Carling backs Farrell
Talks over Danny Cipriani’s new contract, which is worth considerably more than his existing one, began last week. Photograph: by David Rogers/Getty Images
Will Carling has backed Owen Farrell to develop into a world-class captain for England. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images
Danny Cipriani has signed a bumper three-year contract with Gloucester, ending speculation over his future. The 31-year-old had offers from seven Premiership clubs as well as from abroad but has committed his long-term future to the club.
Cipriani joined Gloucester on a cut-price two-year deal – thought to be around £200,000 a year – last May in order to keep his England hopes alive, turning down a lucrative move to France’s Top 14. He went on to make his first England start for 10 years on the summer tour of South Africa but has fallen out of favour with Eddie Jones since.
Gloucester have previously denied that Cipriani had a break clause in his contract, which would have allowed him to negotiate a move away from Kingsholm in the summer, but the club had stated they could be tempted by a significant transfer fee. Cipriani, however, has been pushing for a long-term deal well beyond the 2019-20 season.
Securing his future
Talks over Cipriani’s new contract, which is worth considerably more than his existing one, began last week but it is understood the final hurdle to overcome was the length of the new deal. Cipriani considers Kingsholm the place he can see out the rest of his career and the fly-half has succeeded in securing his future until 2022.
Meanwhile, Will Carling, the former England skipper and current Rugby Football Union leadership mentor, has backed Owen Farrell to develop into a world-class captain for his country but has acknowledged he needs both time and support to do so.
Farrell’s leadership was criticised after England’s second-half capitulation during their 38-38 draw with Scotland last month but Carling, who captained his country to three grand slams in the 1990s, hit back at pundits who have questioned the 27-year-old’s suitability to the role.
Carling was recruited by Jones last October to develop leadership within the England squad and during both the autumn internationals and Six Nations he was regularly spotted at their Pennyhill Park base. Jones has expressed concerns over England’s leadership depth regularly during his tenure and, while Carling believes Farrell will grow as a captain, their World Cup campaign begins in a little over five months.
In a message posted on social media on Tuesday, Carling wrote: “Why do pundits think leadership and fortunes of a team rest with one man. Did [Martin] Johnson win the World Cup on his own? Farrell is a fearsome competitor – a young captain with a real desire to learn, improve. I might be biased, but he has all the traits I would follow.
“He needs help and support from his senior players – and he will get it. I know articles need to be sensational to entice readers – but come on, the man is a world-class player and just needs time before he is the same as captain.”