Despite having ‘offers from all over the world’, Jimmy Gopperth has put pen to paper on a new Wasps contract today.
“It’s an incredibly exciting time to be involved with Wasps,” said Gopperth.
“The last 5 years have been so enjoyable and I feel this team is building towards being really successful – I want to be part of that!
“I want to win some trophies, and the boys are really focussed on doing that. As a player I feel I’ve got a lot more to give and I’m really excited for the future.”
A native of New Plymouth, Taranaki, he spent three years playing provincial rugby for Wellington, before joining the Hurricanes in 2005. He moved to the Blues in 2009, but only spent a season there, before leaving his home country to join Newcastle Falcons. His prolific goal-kicking did much to keep them in the Premiership in 2009/10 and 2010/11, but he could not save them a year later, when Wasps survived by the skin of their teeth, to condemn them to the drop. During his time at Kingston Park he was twice the Premiership’s top scorer.
He stayed with them as they won immediate promotion in 2012/13, before moving to Leinster for two seasons. He signed for Wasps ahead of the 2015/16 season, taking over the number 10 shirt from Andy Goode. The highlight of his first campaign was the nerveless conversion from near the right touchline to secure a dramatic one-point victory over Exeter in the Champions Cup quarter-final at Ricoh Arena. He ended the season with just under 250 points.
With Danny Cipriani returning to his old club for the 2016/17 season, he moved out to inside centre – second five-eighth, to New Zealanders. In a prolific season, his total of 331 points made him the Premiership’s top scorer for the third time, and he added the RPA, Premiership Rugby and Wasps Player of the Season awards.
Injury in a pre-season friendly in Connacht ruled him out for eight months and his 2018/19 season was then ended, when he suffered another injury shortly after coming on as a replacement in his comeback game.
This season he has been back to his best with his wisdom and experience playing a key role in the excellent run of results which lifted Wasps to fifth place in the Premiership, before the tournament was put on hold.
He has now made ninety-six appearances for Wasps, including one at full-back, scoring a total of 819 points. His overall total of 1351 Premiership points places him eighth in the all-time scoring list.
Wasps Transfers: 5 fly-halves they should try to sign
1. Bernard Foley
The NSW Waratahs fly-half, who was due to join Kubota Spears in Japan, has been rumoured to be looking for a short-term deal in the Gallagher Premiership following drastic pay-cuts in Australia.
The 30-year-old playmaker, who has won 70 caps for the Wallabies, broke the Australian record for most individual points in a Test against England, with 28 of Australia’s 33 as they thrashed England by 20 points in the pool stages of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Nicknamed the ‘iceman’ for his coolness under pressure, Foley would be the perfect replacement.