» I’m fully fo­cused on Glouces­ter _ Cipri­ani Sport

Glouces­ter­shire Live head of sport Rob Iles sat down with fly-half star Danny Cipri­ani to dis­cuss his Eng­land ex­pe­ri­ence, his Amer­i­can re­treat and his re­turn to train­ing at Glouces­ter

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS -

DANNY Cipri­ani is look­ing ahead to his sec­ond sea­son at Glouces­ter af­ter an event­ful sum­mer. Af­ter be­ing crowned Pre­mier­ship Player of the Sea­son as the Cherry and Whites fin­ished in the play-offs last term, Cipri­ani was part of Eng­land’s pre-world Cup train­ing squad but was dropped be­fore head coach Ed­die Jones named his 31-man squad for the tour­na­ment.

He then spent time in USA, hang­ing out with Amer­i­can sport stars, in­clud­ing ten­nis leg­end John Mcen­roe, as well as peo­ple from the mu­sic and film in­dus­try while also do­ing some in­tense train­ing. » How have you found be­ing back in train­ing af­ter your break in the USA? »

I’m re­ally en­joy­ing it. I started re­ally miss­ing the boys about a week be­fore my time was up. I feel like we’re much closer as a group and I think we’re re­ally en­joy­ing it.

There’s a lot of buy-in and I think we’re do­ing pretty well for pre-sea­son. It’s ex­cit­ing to go into the sea­son. » How did the squad wel­come you back?

It was just like nor­mal. They’ve been awe­some, every­one’s been out­stand­ing, every­one’s been work­ing hard.

We’ve got dif­fer­ent groups of some » long-term in­juries com­ing back, some short-term ones and boys train­ing and the blend of every­one mix­ing and mo­ti­vat­ing each other has been pretty beau­ti­ful to see.

» What did you feel was the ben­e­fit to go­ing to the USA as op­posed to get­ting back in train­ing with a ball in hand? I’ve been get­ting the ball in my hand for the last 15 years so hope­fully I haven’t for­got­ten how to do that!

It was just more to get a break away from rugby, it’s been seven years now of ev­ery year train­ing, not get­ting much of an off-sea­son and mak­ing sure you’re ready for this bit, it might be a tour with Eng­land, it might be a World Cup camp in 2015 and I just felt like for me to spend some time away to truly miss rugby.

Oth­er­wise it just be­comes mo­not­o­nous and the same and I’m grate­ful that Jo­han (Ack­er­mann, the Glouces­ter head coach) gave me the op­por­tu­nity to do it be­cause it means I come back re­ju­ve­nated to give it a big year.

» What sort of train­ing were you do­ing there?

A lot of track work. I mes­saged Mar­got Wells (the Eng­land sprint coach), she would dic­tate what kind of track ses­sion I’d be do­ing. I was also do­ing a lot of un­der­wa­ter weights with Laird Hamil­ton and I’ve been do­ing that for the last six years, go­ing out and spend­ing time there, do­ing a lot of breath­ing work, sauna stuff, ice baths, a mix­ture of all kind of things, do­ing foot work in the sand.

It wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily just for rugby, it was more for life and re­ally en­joy­ing that side of train­ing. It’s re­ally ex­cit­ing to have a great group of peo­ple over there I can spend time with.

And spend­ing time in a 220-de­gree sauna...

There’s so many ben­e­fits from it and when you’re in that sauna, in such place of dis­com­fort the con­ver­sa­tion that flows from it is ex­cep­tional be­cause peo­ple share, peo­ple talk.

You’re in there with nine other peo­ple from dif­fer­ent walks of life that you’d never nor­mally meet, they could be from busi­nesses, the movie in­dus­try, other pro­fes­sional ath­letes. Every­one’s shar­ing, every­one’s learn­ing and it’s a pretty ex­cep­tional group.

How did you come across John Mcen­roe? Did you learn much from him?

We had a spike­ball com­pe­ti­tion go­ing for nine days in a row.

Me and my friends, Joakim (Noah, an NBA star) were against him and a guy called Nate and they couldn’t beat us. It was fun.

It was great to see his in­ten­sity, he’s such a great man and I re­ally en­joyed his com­pany.

You can learn from every­one if you’re open to it and that’s some­thing I try to be so that you can con­trol your re­sponse and make sure you’re aware of be­ing able to learn from dif­fer­ent types of peo­ple.

» Do you feel you could have done any more than you did to make Eng­land’s World Cup squad given that you were dou­ble Pre­mier­ship player of the year last sea­son?

I think you can al­ways do more. I tried to do ev­ery­thing I could, I’m sure I could’ve played in cer­tain ways. I’m happy with how we pro­gressed last year as a group.

Ed­die’s backed Fordy (Ge­orge Ford) and Faz (Owen Far­rell) since he’s come in. It doesn’t mean he’s right or wrong but you’ve just got to sup­port that de­ci­sion be­cause you want the team to do well

I knew it was go­ing to be dif­fi­cult be­cause Ed­die’s backed Fordy (Ge­orge Ford) and Faz (Owen Far­rell) since he’s come in. It doesn’t mean he’s right or wrong but you’ve just got to sup­port that de­ci­sion be­cause you want the na­tional team to do well. They play very well to­gether so it makes sense to have them in for so many years go­ing into a com­pe­ti­tion.

There’s a lot of pres­sure on it, it’s some­thing you rely on. It’s not like a wing, it’s the crux of the team so I can fully un­der­stand his de­ci­sion and you can see that when they play to­gether the ben­e­fit it has in an ex­pan­sive way for Eng­land.

» When you were in the train­ing camp, were you given a rea­son why you were asked to do the strength and con­di­tion­ing train­ing sep­a­rately?

No, he was just do­ing that with cer­tain play­ers. I think it was me, Sam Un­der­hill and An­thony Wat­son.

It was great, I got to train with Mar­got for the week, some good prepa­ra­tion. I wasn’t look­ing too much into it, I didn’t have much ex­pec­ta­tion and I en­joyed my time there even though it was only a cou­ple of weeks and you could say that he’s been very dili­gent in ev­ery as­pect and the in­ten­sity was there.

» Did you have a feel­ing at that point that you would not make it?

I didn’t have any ex­pec­ta­tion from the be­gin­ning, let alone that point. I don’t live my life with any ex­pec­ta­tions, it’s just how I go into con­ver­sa­tions or sit­u­a­tions be­cause all I can con­trol is my re­sponse and I’ve got to con­trol my re­sponse in that mo­ment, whether it be do­ing an army camp or do­ing things you don’t en­joy.

If you’re do­ing things you don’t en­joy, you can con­trol your re­sponse in that sit­u­a­tion and then you have a dif­fer­ent flip on it be­cause if you go in there with an ex­pec­ta­tion or pre­con­ceived idea that you’re not go­ing to en­joy some­thing, lo and be­hold you’re

not go­ing to en­joy some­thing.

How did you find the train­ing camps then with camp­ing?

It was re­ally good. We had a great group, there was six of us, we learnt to put some tents up. They showed us how to take hair off a rab­bit and cook it and chicken and it’s stuff that I would never have got a chance to ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore so that was dif­fer­ent.

We had a great time with our tasks and did a great job as a group and I learnt a lot from the peo­ple we were learn­ing from in terms of lead­er­ship and things like that be­cause that’s what it was about.

Do you think that you can play for Eng­land again?

I’m prob­a­bly the wrong man to ask be­cause I’m not pick­ing the team but in terms of me try­ing to be the best I can be that’s not go­ing to stop.

The beauty of Jo­han giv­ing me the time off this off-sea­son, I re­ally got a good break from it and when I’m in train­ing now I’m all in and when I’m away from train­ing I’m not con­sumed by my thoughts about rugby and over­think­ing things. I’ve got the op­por­tu­nity to progress in other ar­eas of my life which will hope­fully make me a bet­ter rugby player as well.

You said it was a seven-year aim to make Eng­land’s World Cup squad, so do you re­set that now?

No, I don’t think of it like that. I’m re­set­ting things very reg­u­larly and of­ten over and over and for me it’s about con­tin­ual growth, con­tin­ual learn­ing, con­trol­ling my ev­ery day, be­ing as present in the mo­ment as I can.

I re­ally en­joy things like try­ing to mo­ti­vate other play­ers in the squad and that’s what con­sumes my time and thoughts when I’m train­ing, and when I’m not train­ing it’s not rugby so I’m not think­ing too much about that.

I’ll do ev­ery­thing I can to play well for Glouces­ter and if things come from that, then great.

Danny Cipri­ani

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