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Jimmy Gopperth exit is no surprise


Jimmy Gopperth

Jimmy Gopperth

Jimmy Gopperth

Jimmy Gopperth didn't have to be a mathematician to know three into two just wouldn't work out for him.

When Jonathan Sexton's return to Leinster was sealed, so too was the fate of the New Zealander.

Assistant coach Richie Murphy was in a position to confirm Gopperth's exit out of Leinster at the end of this season with a return to the English Premiership and Wasps his most likely destination.

"Jimmy was given a heads-up early on about Johnny coming back and he feels he still wants to be a first-team player," said Murphy.

"He's a quality player and 10s are hard to come by around Europe."


Wasps are the front-runners for 31-year-old Gopperth's signature as their Director of Rugby Dai Young moves to replace the 34 year-old Andy Goode. Young is certainly short of experience in the pivotal position with this year's Champions Cup squad.

His registered options behind Goode are the unheralded 23-year-old Glyn Hughes and 21-year-old Alex Lozowski.

"We're aware that he's looking and that Wasps were talking to him, but they aren't the only team talking to him".

There were rumours circulating of a prospective return to Dean Richards' Newcastle Falcons. But that has faded away.

Ireland's out-half Sexton will slot straight back in as Leinster's first choice from next season with Ian Madigan as back-up and an all-rounder when it comes to playing at centre and full-back. The province is also well-stocked with the potential of Cathal Marsh and Ross Byrne, about to embark on his second season as Ireland's U20 playmaker.

Certainly, Gopperth made a blistering start to his Leinster contract last season, playing 29 times, starting five of the Heineken Cup matches as he was given the nod over Madigan for his greater game management.

He has not been able to reclaim those standards this season, leading to the clamour for Madigan to be moved back into the number ten jersey.

The simple fact is that coach Matt O'Connor has had his hands tied by injuries to centres Gordon D'Arcy, Noel Reid, Fergus McFadden and Ben Te'o and has not been able to give Madigan an extended stay at ten.

"I don't think it's as simple as Jimmy is getting picked at out-half and Ian is getting picked somewhere else," said Murphy. "Ian is probably one of the most versatile footballers that we have."

"At the moment, with the injuries in the centres that we have, we have to see what fits us best and put our best foot forward to win a game at the weekend.

"Up to this point, it's been playing with Jimmy at ten and Mads at 12.

"It's not a case that we don't believe that Mads could do a job at ten.

"It never has been."