15 December 2020 22:33
Danny Cipriani's sudden departure from Gloucester marks the latest chapter in a colourful career Gloucester have signed Scotland fly-half Adam Hastings after the 33-year-old announced he was 'excited for the challenges I have ahead' Danny Cipriani's colourful career took a fresh twist yesterday with the former England fly-half's immediate departure from Gloucester. Cipriani announced the news on social media without revealing his next destination. "After much deliberation I have decided to leave Gloucester," Cipriani tweeted to his 143,000 followers. The i newsletter latest news and analysis Email address is invalid Email address is invalid Thank you for subscribing! Sorry, there was a problem with your subscription.
"I am sad to leave a great club, but I'm excited for the challenges I have ahead." Gloucester announced the signing of the 24-year-old Scotland fly-half Adam Hastings for next season, and the club's head coach George Skivington confirmed Cipriani is now a free agent, able to join a club in any country including England. "Someone of Danny's quality is great to watch. I would hope to see him go on to play some great rugby," Skivington said. "When a player wants to move on, there is no point trying to keep him, because it'll only cause dramas." But while Skivington said "there has been no incident, no falling out", there has been a hint of turmoil about Gloucester of late, to set alongside the ever-present fascination with Cipriani of whether a club needs to bend to suit him, or at the age of 33 he is simply seeking a better financial prospect. Cipriani's 16 caps for England since his Test debut in 2008 are considered by many to be a grievous waste of rich talent.
His brilliant passing and demanding disposition have taken him to Wasps, twice, Melbourne Rebels and Sale Sharks while love affairs and occasional drink-related misdemeanours generated headlines before and after he joined Gloucester in 2018. On the face of it he had chosen at that stage not to move to a French club in the belief he could make England's 2019 World Cup squad. Eddie Jones started him in the dead-rubber third Test in South Africa in June 2018, and Cipriani was voted the Premiership's player of the year for 2018-19, as Gloucester finished third in the league. But the England dream went no further, and last season Cipriani's form was more iffy, coinciding with disruptive changes at Gloucester – the departure of chief executive Stephen Vaughan in August 2019, and, this past summer, the exits of director of rugby David Humphreys and head coach Johan Ackermann. Cipriani struggled to force his way into George Skivington's plans (Photo: Getty) In came Skivington as head coach and Alex King as backs coach – both former Wasps team-mates of Cipriani's. "This is the most exciting announcement of a head coach I've seen in rugby," Cipriani tweeted. "Very grateful I'll get to play out my last years under him." This season, however, Cipriani played in only the first of Gloucester's four matches, at Leicester on 21 November. Recent performances suggest the ex-second row Skivington is increasing his side's territorial kicking. It is understood Cipriani's tendency towards being a controlling influence had not gone unnoticed by Lance Bradley, the new chief executive. At the resumption of rugby in August, Skivington told this newspaper: "I have talked to Danny and no one is guaranteed to play, and we are certainly not building a rugby club around anyone in particular." Alongside all this, Cipriani has been baring his soul – again, he has been going against the stoical rugby grain, although it feels like attitudes are changing, so maybe he is leading. Last February, he posted a grief-stricken valedictory to his dear friend, Caroline Flack, since when he has detailed a new relationship with 39-year-old grandmother Victoria Rose O'Callaghan, including the tragic news of a miscarriage. In a post on Instagram in October, Cipriani wrote of a "challenging year" of healing and falling "deeply in love", which he described as "the scariest thing to do hence my behaviour over the years… At 24 weeks we lost River, our son. Was and is always going to be difficult, but we supported each other through it and found our love grew and got stronger… I'm more determined than ever to keep growing learning and loving with my woman. I'm also locked in to represent myself the best I can on the field which to this day I still don't think I have done… The future is exciting it's going to take hard work. I'm ready." Gloucester Rugby would like to announce that Danny Cipriani has left the Club with immediate effect. Having joined Cherry & Whites in 2018 Cipriani, now 33, went on to score 128 points in 44 appearances for the Club. Cipriani was keen to express his gratitude for his time at Gloucester Rugby. "After much deliberation I have decided to leave Gloucester with the love, support and blessing of my coach and friend George Skivington. Whilst I'm sad to be leaving such a great club I know the club is in safe hands for the future under George's leadership." Commenting on Cipriani's departure, George Skivington added: "Danny has been playing at the top of his game for over a decade now, his reputation in the game is undisputed. It has been a pleasure to have been a part of Danny's career at Gloucester and I wish him well for his next challenge." Gloucester Rugby would like to place on record our appreciation for Danny's contribution during his time with us. We wish him the very best for his future endeavours.