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Legendary playmaker announces new move

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Tuesday Jun 6, 2023

Jimmy Gopperth has been a terrific servant for rugby over the past 20 years, with no less than 400 games and 3800 points to his name with clubs in England, Ireland and New Zealand. As one of the more senior names in world rugby, Gopperth is now seen as an inspiration by many new fly halves attempting to create their own mould.

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It takes a particular character and a certain mentality to forge a career that lasts over two decades, something that Jimmy Gopperth has appeared to do with relative ease. It would have been very easy for the New Plymouth born playmaker to have called it a day when Wasps met their unfortunate demise, however the mentality of the man shone through as he looked to continue with his stellar career.

Gopperth joined Premiership holders Leicester in a season which saw coaches leave, players transfer and titles lost, all the while holding the integrity that the midlands club are so famous for. Despite starting the Premiership semi-final for Leicester, lined up against World Cup winner Handre Pollard, Gopperth had found himself on yard sale once again.

Known for his tenacity, Gopperth is in no state to let sleeping dogs lie as the 39 year old has signed for Division 2 French side Provence, a mid table side that will no doubt benefit hugely from the New Zealanders experience.

A statement read: “Provence Rugby have announced the arrival for one season of Jimmy Gopperth, the New Zealand fly-half, from Leicester Tigers. Gopperth, whose characteristics correspond precisely to the staff’s desire to bring experience, leadership and professionalism to the current squad, has played nearly 500 games during his immense career.

“It’s a longevity owed to an irreproachable lifestyle, but also to great technical qualities and a 10/12 versatility. This has earned him many games at fly-half and in midfield since his arrival in the English league in 2009.

“Gopperth played 20 games last season – including the semi-final against Sale as a starter. He has played three New Zealand NPC finals, a Super Rugby final, two English Premiership finals and was voted best player of the season in 2017. Chosen to be the successor to Jonny Wilkinson at Newcastle and Johnny Sexton at Leinster, Gopperth has an experience that will be an undeniable asset for the club’s progress in the short term.

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“A hard worker who has repeated over and over that he is not ready to hang up, this surf enthusiast has decided to embark on one last great challenge: to take Provence Rugby to the finals for the first time in its history.”

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