Cipriani re-signs with Wasps
March 6, 2009
Danny Cipriani has committed his future to Wasps © Getty Images
Danny Cipriani has re-signed with Wasps, ending speculation that he may be following James Haskell, Tom Palmer and Riki Flutey in exiting the club for a lucrative deal abroad.
Fly-half Cipriani is one of 13 players to sign new deals with the club, England flanker Tom Rees also penning a new deal to boost the struggling Guinness Premiership champions. Cipriani and Rees are joined by Richard Birkett, Tom French, John Hart, Tim Payne, Simon Shaw, Mark Van Gisbergen, Phil Vickery, Dave Walder and Dominic Waldouck plus two academy graduates, Joe Simpson and James Honeyben.
"We are delighted with the volume of players committing to the club for next season and for those to come," said Wasps director of rugby Ian McGeechan. "This is a great show of intent from the players and our board as we see a mixture of experienced and international calibre players combine with up and coming names. All of these play a pivotal role in our campaign both now and in the future and are core to the continuing development of the team and our rugby."
Cipriani and Rees's signing will be a huge boost to England manager Martin Johnson, who has been under increased pressure following Haskell, Palmer and Flutey's move to France.
Cipriani has been back with Wasps in recent weeks after being dropped from the England squad, but his form has steadily improved under the watchful eye of McGeechan. With Johnson still sweating the fitness of Toby Flood ahead of next weekend's vital Six Nations match-up against France, Cipriani's performance against London Irish on Sunday will be vital.
Cipriani decided to stay with the champions after it became clear that their ambitions matched his own, something that has been proved by this glut of signings. While he has decided to stay at Adams Park and not move overseas, he has nothing but respect for those who have.
"Obviously it was good to have the options, but I just wanted to make sure other players were signing (for Wasps) and once I knew I was straight on the dotted line," he said. "There was not much thought. I've been at Wasps since I was 15 and love it here.
"I made my decision purely on that I enjoy my rugby at Wasps. It's such a good environment with a really good team spirit. I've got respect for the three who are going. They are going to a different lifestyle of rugby, Riki and Tom are probably getting their last big contract and James will experience a different type of rugby and is going to come back a better player for it. It's all positive for them. It will be difficult to replace them, but we'll definitely be able to do so because that's part of what Wasps is about."
Cipriani has not given up on his hopes of a recall for England and possibly a place on the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa in the summer, but for now he is content to build on his form in the Premiership.
"I'm feeling good. I felt I was back to my best a couple of games ago," he said. "If I am playing well for Wasps and the powers-that-be believe so then I'll get picked. It's all about what I am doing for my club and if I am playing well then things like England and the Lions is a potential.
"If I'm performing as well as I can I'd like to think I can make the Lions tour, but at the moment it's about me making sure I enjoy myself week-in week-out. It's just a one-year deal because then we can see how we move forward. By the end of this year I could have signed for another three on top of it - it's just making sure that everything is right."