Evergreen playmaker Jimmy Gopperth says re-signing for Wasps this summer is not a done deal as he ponders offers from around the globe.
Gopperth, 36, is in the twilight years of a career that has seen him star for Newcastle, Leinster and Wasps since leaving Auckland Blues in 2009.
His contract ends in June but his stock remains high.
“We’re going through that stuff now,” he told TRP. “I still feel I’ve got so much to give and there are offers out there to keep playing. With lockdown it’s a bit slower but hopefully I can get my future sorted, wherever that may be.”
Asked if staying at Wasps was his preference, Gopperth said: “It’s a club I really love and I’ve played here five years and built up good relationships so it’s very high on my list to stay and keep playing here for as long as I can – but there’s a lot of interest from all around which is pretty nice at this stage of my career.”
Regardless of where he plays, Gopperth says one of the few positives of the pandemic will be to extend the careers of the Premier-ship’s golden oldies.
Gopperth is the fifth most senior player operatingw in England’s top-flight behind London Irish’s Franco van der Merwe, Elvis Taione (Exeter), Richard Wiggles-worth (Saracens) and Greg Holmes (Exeter), but insists there is plenty in the tank.
“Older players will definitely benefit,” he says. “When I got my ACL injury in 2018 that was the first proper lay-off I’d had but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
“I hadn’t had a physical break like that since I started playing rugby and it did wonders for me. I felt like I was 25 again. A lot of guys will benefit from having a longer lay-off now and come back fitter, faster and stronger than before.”
Gopperth added: “If you can still mix it with the 18-year-olds, why should you retire? Why can’t you be 40 playing professional rugby? There is no limit and it’s important to have some older guys in your squad to pass on knowledge.”
Gopperth has coaching ambitions, having already set up his own kicking academy, but is focused on his playing future and sees a bright outlook for Wasps under Lee Blackett.
Gopperth said: “When Dai Young left, guys were gutted because he’d done so much for the club and was such a good guy. There was always going to be a reaction and the boys were playing as much for him.
“Having some fresh vision and ideas does give you an extra step as well and Lee and the boys under him have got some confidence going within the squad.
“Shutdown came at a bad time for us because we were flying, so we’re keen to see how far we can go when we are able to play again.”