Danny Cipriani owes his ability to bounce back from disappointments, the latest being omitted from England’s Rugby World Cup squad, to the resilient character of his “awesome” mother Anne, he told AFP.
The mercurial 31-year-old Gloucester fly-half — who acknowledges he is a ‘free spirit’ — picked up two player of the year awards last season but even that was insufficient to convince Eddie Jones he should take him to Japan.
Cipriani — who won the last of his 16 Test caps in June last year against South Africa — says his mother’s sacrifices for him left an indelible mark on her only child.
“I was very lucky as a youngster to see my mum work as she was a (London) black cab driver,” he said at the launch of the forthcoming English Premiership season on Wednesday.
“Her resilience in sending me to good schools and do what she did from growing up on a council estate was out of this world.
“You probably do not realise that it is instilled in you from a young age until you have the awareness to look back on it and say this is where it comes from.“
Cipriani, whose mother even came to his rescue on Wednesday bringing him his rugby boots at Twickenham as he had forgotten them, says he learned from her independence of mind.
“I have always tried to live my life in that you do not allow others to dictate your happiness or mindset or mood in any sense,” he said.
“You are in control of your response and mine has always been to make sure I keep showing up when things aren’t going to plan.“
As a 15-year-old Cipriani went to train with Margot Wells, the wife of Britain’s Olympic 100m champion Allan.
The decision came after the advice of one of his mother’s passengers and he admits it took him some time to appreciate her.
“At 6 or 7 or even 12 you are not the most grateful person on the planet, I don’t think any youngster is in that sense,” he said.
“That is the beauty of getting older and having that awareness and understand what she did and it is remarkable.
“When you start to understand things at 23 or 24 you get another kick in life and go wow that you have something else to live up to.
‘Rugby is a vehicle’
Cipriani, who displayed that resilience in rebounding from pleading guilty to assault in a night club last year to inspiring Gloucester to the Premiership semi-finals, is philosophical about his omission.
“I cannot double guess what it is,” he said referring to the reason for not being selected.
“If I were to rationalise it he (Jones) has had (George) Ford and Faz (Owen Farrell) play Number 10 for a long time.
“I completely understand why he has made the decision but that does not mean I don’t think that I am the best player for the position.
“But he is the coach and you have to support it.“
Cipriani, who says off the pitch he loves going to the cinema and reads books on spirituality and psychology, says personal relationships are funny things.
“It is an interesting journey,” he said.
“Certain characters you get on with and others you do or don’t for whatever reason.
“When you don’t like someone it is often something within you.
“Obviously playing for England has not panned out like I wanted it to but I would not change anything.
“I feel I am progressing in my life and for me rugby is a vehicle on my later journey in life.”
Cipriani says his mum is pleased with the way her son has turned out.
“She is definitely proud of how I keep on showing up,” he said.
“She is obviously unhappy her little boy does not play for England as much as he wants but like I tell her it would not change my life in any way shape or form.”