Phil Vickery hails Gloucester capture of Danny Cipriani.

Rugby Union
Danny Cipriani
Danny Cipriani

Phil Vickery believes that Gloucester have captured a "world-class rugby player" in his former England team-mate Danny Cipriani.

And ex-Gloucester and England skipper Vickery feels that Cipriani can leave a legacy at Kingsholm following his stint with the club that begins next season.

Gloucester's swoop for the 30-year-old was confirmed just four days after he was named in Eddie Jones' England squad to tour South Africa next month.

Vickery readily acknowledges it is a signing that has captured the imagination of a rugby-mad city.

"What we have to do is remember what Danny Cipriani is," he told Press Association Sport.

"I don't use these words very often, but he is a world-class rugby player, and that is world class in anyone's book.

"He's had his ups and downs, he has had his trials and tribulations.

"But the Danny Cipriani that I have seen in the last two or three years is a Danny Cipriani that I had the privilege of playing with and seeing all his skill-sets, and now seeing a maturity with that.

"I can see Danny coming in, looking at the great nucleus of young guys coming through at Gloucester, and thinking, 'Wow, I can leave a real Danny Cipriani legacy here'.

"I truly believe and hope he can do that. I don't get excited that often, and I am looking forward to it. It is a great opportunity."

Fly-half Cipriani will join fellow new arrivals Matt Banahan, Franco Marais and Jaco Kriel at Gloucester next term, while other new signings are set to be announced shortly as the west country club prepare for a European Champions Cup return.

A new partially-artificial playing surface is also being laid at Kingsholm, and 73 times-capped Vickery - who spent 11 years at Gloucester before joining Wasps in 2006 - has no doubt the future is a bright one.

"Even after the disappointment of last Friday (Gloucester were beaten 31-30 by Cardiff Blues in the European Challenge Cup final), I look at the Gloucester team, the players, the commitment, the endeavour, the attitude, and I think it is a really exciting place to be," he added.

"If you stand still in the Premiership you are going to be another place or two down the following season because everyone wants to get in the top four, everyone wants to get in the top six, everyone wants to be in the big competitions.

"To do that, you need to keep the progression.

"I remember the very first day I walked into Gloucester 22 years ago - it was Mike Teague's last game and Phil Greening's first - and the attraction to the place being about the Gloucester people and supporters. They are people who care.

"The history and the heritage of this club is just phenomenal.

"What we must do is move forward as a club, but also keeping that back-pack full of the memories and of former players and coaches.

"It is about plugging all that in, keeping our traditions, keep moving forward and keeping what makes this club special."

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