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May 21, 2013

Stade Francais snap up Taulafo from Wasps

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 05/21/2013

Stade Francais have announced the capture of London Wasps prop Zac Taulafo ahead of next season.

Taulafo has signed a three-year deal with the Parisians bringing an end to his time with Wasps. The Samoan international joined the Aviva Premiership club in 2009 and turned out in the 2011 World Cup.

But he has opted for a switch to the Top 14 and in his absence, Wasps have drafted in Ricky Reeves from Bedford and England’s Matt Mullan.

May 20, 2013

Wasps sign Bedford scrum-half Reeves

Posted by Graham Jenkins on 05/20/2013

London Wasps have announced the signing of Bedford Blues scrum-half Ricky Reeves who will join the Premiership side next season.

The experienced prop will make the switch on the back of an impressive season in the Championship during which he has helped the Blues reach the final of the second-tier competition where they will face Newcastle Falcons.

Lance Corporal Ricky Reeves, who is part of the 33 Engineer Regiment bomb disposal unit and has served with the British Army in Afghanistan, will be given a sabbatical period by the Army having previously played for Cambridge and the Army. He also played for Saracens in this season's LV= Anglo-Welsh Cup.

London Wasps director of rugby Dai Young said: "Ricky is an experienced player who has been a key part of Bedford’s excellent season this year and is very keen to be given a chance in the Premiership. He will be a very useful addition to our squad and we are looking forward to seeing what he can do at the top level."

May 10, 2013

Wasps bolster back-row with Jersey star

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 05/10/2013

London Wasps have added to their back-row resources with the signing of Jersey's Guy Thompson.

The back-rower was nominated for the RFU Championship Player of the Year award and arrived at Jersey from Gloucester's academy. “Guy has made a lot of people sit up and take notice with his performances in the Championship this season," Wasps' Dai Young said. "He is an explosive runner who will scare defences with his pace and power. His ability to play across the back row will be very valuable and we are all looking forward to seeing what he can do at this level.”

Thompson said of the move: "I am really excited about Wasps and working with some fantastic players and coaches. It’s a squad with some incredibly talented young players and it’s great to see that the coaches are not afraid to give guys without huge experience a chance to show what they can do. I can’t wait to get started.”

May 9, 2013

Ashley Johnson re-signs with Wasps

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 05/09/2013

Springbok No.8 Ashley Johnson has extended his contract with Wasps after an impressive debut season.

Johnson has excelled for Dai Young's team this term making 25 appearances and he is delighted to have re-signed with Wasps. He said: “My first season has been hugely enjoyable and I have learned so much over the past year from the players and coaches at Wasps. When Dai talked to me about signing an extension I didn’t need to think twice. I am part of a squad that is really building for the future and I am really happy to be part of what we are doing here.”

Young added: “Ashley has been one of the standout players in the side this year and we are delighted to have extended his contract with the Club. He has taken our style of rugby in his stride and has become a real leader in the squad. With a number of young guys around him Ashley has been a hugely positive influence, leading by example on and off the pitch and we are all looking forward to seeing what he can do over the next few seasons.”

May 3, 2013

Wasps quartet in line for young player award

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 05/03/2013

London Wasps have four players in the mix for the Rugby Players' Association Young Player of the Year award.

Back Elliot Daly, second-row Joe Launchbury, No.8 Billy Vunipola and winger Christian Wade are all in the mix while Exeter's Jack Nowell and Saracens' Mako Vunipola have also got the nod. The winner will be announced on May 22.

Wasps confirm end-of-season transfers

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 05/03/2013

London Wasps have announced which players are departing the club at the end of the season and those who are coming in.

Those leaving are: Tinus Du Plessis, Stephen Jones (retiring), Chris Mayor, T Rhys Thomas, Jonathan Poff, Nick Robinson, Zak Taulafo, Lewis Thiede, Alex Rae, Lorenzo Romano, Billy Vunipola, Stuart Commins.

And those arriving are: Matt Mullen (Worcester), Andy Goode (Worcester), Joe Carlisle (Worcester), Jake Cooper-Woolley (Cardiff), Nathan Hughes (Auckland), Rory Pitman (Rotherham), Josh Bassett (Bedford), Neil Cochrane (Bedford), Kearnan Myall (Sale Sharks), Jack Moates (London Irish), Ed Jackson (London Welsh).

Wasps coach Dai Young said: "I’d like to thank all of those players who are moving on the very best for the future and thank them for their contribution to London Wasps. It’s always tough to say goodbye to players who have put in hard work for the club over the years."

April 29, 2013

Woodman to leave London Wasps

Posted by Graham Jenkins on 04/29/2013

London Wasps have announced that forwards coach Trevor Woodman will leave the Premiership club at the end of the current season.

Woodman, who joined the club in 2009 having begun his coaching career in Australia following his retirement from playing, said: "I’ve had four really enjoyable years here and it’s now time for me to seek a new challenge elsewhere. Working with lots of talented young players and helping them come through and emerge as key Premiership names has been something I have been very proud of.

"I have also learned a lot from Dai Young this season from his experience as a Director of Rugby. When Dai joined two years ago we mutually agreed I would stay on for two more years, while he assisted all coaching areas, and then he would take full control of the forwards, so it’s now time for me to move on. I want to say thanks to all of the players, staff and supporters who I have worked with at Wasps over the years. I think the Club is in a great place after its previous struggles and is in good hands for the future."

April 22, 2013

Wasps hooker T Rhys Thomas to join Dragons

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 04/22/2013

London Wasps have announced hooker T Rhys Thomas is leaving the club at the end of the season due to family reasons - he will join RaboDirect PRO12 side the Dragons.

Thomas joined Wasps at the end of last season but has struggled living away from his family in Cardiff - with that in mind, Wasps have agreed to release him prior to the end of his contract. Thomas said: "Travelling back and forth has been really tough and I am incredibly grateful to Dai and Wasps for understanding the situation I'm in. I want to say thanks to everyone who has helped and supported me this season. I am leaving a club that I think is well on the way to becoming a massive force again in English rugby and I am just sorry I can’t be part of it."

Wasps boss Dai Young added: "It’s a difficult situation and one we would rather not find ourselves in given the timing, but we do understand that family comes first. TR has had a very good season with us and I’d like to thank him for his contribution over the past year."

April 8, 2013

Wasps flanker Sam Jones pens new contract

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 04/08/2013

London Wasps' flanker Sam Jones has opted to extend his current deal with the Aviva Premiership club.

Jones follows in the footsteps of Christian Wade, Elliot Daly and Joe Launchbury in signing a new contract and coach Dai Young is tipping him for big things. Young said: "I am a big fan of Sam’s and his work rate and professionalism is excellent on and off the field. I am convinced he will be a long term regular first team player for this club with huge potential to develop further at international level if he continues to progress as well as he has."

Jones added: "I have been involved as a player with Wasps for around ten years now and I feel a real loyalty to the club. I am excited about what the future holds for this squad and with lots of young talent staying here, we are heading in a very positive direction."

April 4, 2013

Elliot Daly extends Wasps contract

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 04/04/2013

London Wasps' versatile back Elliot Daly has penned a new 'long-term contract'.

Daly has excelled for the Aviva Premiership team this term scoring an array of impressive tries and also proving to be deadly with the boot. And Wasps boss Dai Young was delighted with the 20-year-old's decision. "Elliot has been excellent since I joined the Club and he has the quality to play in a number of positions," Young said. "He is one of the extremely talented young English players that I want to build the future of this club around."

Daly added: "This was an easy decision for me. I love playing for Wasps and this is where I want to play my rugby. It’s been a brilliant environment for me to develop in since I left school and the style of rugby we are cultivating is really enjoyable to be involved in. We’re heading in a really positive direction and I hope to play a big part in that."

April 3, 2013

Wasps draft in Josh Bassett from Bedford

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 04/03/2013

London Wasps have bolstered their options on the wing with the signing of Bedford Blues flyer Josh Bassett ahead of next season.

Bassett was the RFU Championship's top try-scorer last season with 14 and he will look to vie with Christian Wade and Tom Varndell for a spot on the flanks. “Josh fits the bill perfectly for what we are trying to achieve here," Dai Young said. "He’s young, he’s very ambitious and he’s English and he’ll be an excellent addition to our set up.

"We have some very talented wingers in our squad but he’s got a big future and having impressed hugely at Championship level we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do with us.”

March 13, 2013

Lewsey lands Cornish Pirates' CEO role

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 03/13/2013

England World Cup-winner Josh Lewsey has been appointed acting chief executive of the Cornish Pirates.

The ex-Wasps back joins "on a consultative and part-time basis from April to September," according to owner Dicky Evans. Since retiring Lewsey has worked for PwC and Citibank and Evans is looking forward to utilising Lewsey's rugby and busines experience.

In a statement, Evans added: "His CV is of course top notch, but of special significance has been his ability to switch his outstanding sporting ability into the area of business, deliberately differentiating himself from his peers in rugby by learning and adopting a broader set of skills in some of the world's most challenging industries. Josh and I have been in touch for a couple of years on the future of rugby in Cornwall, the Pirates and the stadium and his advice to me behind the scenes has been invaluable."

February 26, 2013

Wasps capture London Irish's Jack Moates

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 02/26/2013

London Wasps have signed promising scrum-half Jack Moates from London Irish ahead of next season.

Aged just 20, Moates has made 17 appearances for the Exiles and he is delighted to be joining Wasps. "It’s a really exciting time to be joining London Wasps as they are flying high in the league and pushing for Heineken Cup qualification," Moates said. "There are already some high quality scrum-halves at Wasps but I am looking forward to developing further under the likes of Dai Young and Shane Howarth so that I can challenge for a place in the first team.”

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young added: "I have been impressed with Jack as a young scrum half both for the London Irish A side and their senior side over the past year or so and I know he is a very ambitious player. I believe a squad needs a strong mix of scrum halves over the course of the season and he will add to the mix alongside the likes of Joe Simpson and Charlie Davies."

February 22, 2013

Wasps bring in Joe Carlisle to replace Robinson

Posted by Jeremy Inson on 02/22/2013

London Wasps have announced that Joe Carlisle will join the club at the end of the season from Worcester Warriors to replace Nick Robinson who is leaving for Bristol.

The 25-year-old Carlisle has scored 477 points in 90 appearances for the Warriors after coming through their academy. Earlier in the season he set a new club record of points scored in a European match, with 30 against Rovigo in the European Cup.

February 21, 2013

Nicky Robinson swaps Wasps for Bristol

Posted by Graham Jenkins on 02/21/2013

Championship side Bristol have announced the signing of Wales international fly-half Nicky Robinson on a three-year deal from Premiership club London Wasps.

Robinson, who won the last of his 13 Test caps in 2009, joined Wasps from their Premiership rivals Gloucester in 2011 having previously played for for Cardiff Blues. "Bristol has a famous history and the rugby club is a huge part of the city. I will be proud to represent them and contribute to the team and the goals they have set," he told bristolrugby.co.uk

"I am under no illusions about the scale of the task ahead. It doesn't matter if Bristol are in the Championship or Premiership next season, there will be some tough challenges to come. I am looking forward to testing myself, developing my game and helping the club push on to the next level."

February 19, 2013

Double lock boost for Wasps

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 02/19/2013

Wasps have announced that influential lock Marco Wentzel has re-signed with the club while they have also recruited Kearnan Myall from Sale Sharks ahead of next season.

“Marco has been a huge performer for us over the past two seasons and continues to be a real leader for us at the lineout and it’s great to have him on board next season again," Wasps boss Dai Young said. "Kearnan is someone who has been an ever-present for Sale and someone who has really impressed us. I believe he is a player who has the potential to go further in his career and earn greater international recognition.

"Second row is a real physical position and there’s a long season there, so making sure we had a very strong mix in this area was important to us and we’ve got that now.”

February 18, 2013

Wade scoops Discovery of the Month award

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 02/18/2013

London Wasps flyer Christian Wade has been awarded the Land Rover Discovery of the Month gong for his performances in January.

The winger beat Bath's Tom Heathcote and London Irish's Marland Yarde to the inaugural monthly award and was picked by a panel including former England international Josh Lewsey.

"Christian has been consistently one of the most entertaining and innovative players in Aviva Premiership rugby over the last couple of seasons and specifically in January this year," Lewsey said. "To that end, as part of his on-going development I'm delighted to see that he is getting the recognition such dedication and ability deserves.”

January 29, 2013

Saxons add Phil Swainston to the mix

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 01/29/2013

The England Saxons have called up London Wasps prop Phil Swainston to the squad ahead of Friday's match with Scotland A.

Swainston replaces Gloucester's Shaun Knight who has returned to his club to have treatment on a sore left knee.

January 28, 2013

Wasps bring in Matt Mullan

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 01/28/2013

Wasps have announced the signing of Worcester's loose-head prop Matt Mullan ahead of next season.

The 25-year-old is currently part of the England Saxons squad and he is relishing the chance to play in a new environment. “I have had a great eight years at Worcester and leaving your home town club is always hard," Mullan said. "However I felt the time was right for a new challenge and I am looking forward to joining up with London Wasps next season. As a club with lots of other aspiring young English players, I hope to be part of a successful side there in the coming years.”

January 24, 2013

Amlin Challenge Cup quarters unveiled

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 01/24/2013

Tournament organisers have announced the dates and kick-off times for this season's Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

Gloucester will launch the quarter-final round when they tackle Biarritz at Kingsholm on Thursday, April 4 (8pm), with two games scheduled the following evening - Perpignan v Toulouse (7pm) and Wasps' Adams Park appointment with Leinster (8pm). The quarter-finals are concluded on Saturday, April 6 when Bath tackle Stade Francais at the Recreation Ground (1pm).

January 22, 2013

European Player of the Year longlist revealed

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 01/22/2013

European Rugby Cup (ERC) has unveiled the longlist for European Player of the Year. The panel (consisting of five individuals from the media side of rugby) has picked 15 players based on their form in the first six rounds of Amlin Challenge Cup and Heineken Cup action.

Wasps' Joe Launchbury is the only representative from the Amlin Challenge Cup with the other 14 coming from the Heineken Cup.

The Longlist: Steffon Armitage (Toulon), Rory Best (Ulster), Julien Bonnaire (Clermont Auvergne), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Wesley Fofana (Clermont Auvergne), Mamuka Gorgodze (Montpellier), Charlie Hodgson (Saracens), James Johnston (Harlequins), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Morgan Parra (Clermont Auvergne), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Ruan Pienaar (Ulster), Simon Zebo (Munster)

Wasps add fresh faces to squad

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 01/22/2013

London Wasps have added a scrum-half and a centre to their resources for the rest of the season.

Former Northampton scrum-half Stuart Commins is drafted in while Moseley's centre Charlie Hayter is also added. Wasps boss Dai Young explained the additions saying: “These are two positions in which we needed to add depth. We’re losing two centres – Andrea Masi and Elliot Daly – to international duty in the coming weeks and with a long-term injury to Lee Thomas, adding another centre to the squad was important. Charlie has been very good at Championship level so we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do.

"With Joe Simpson with the England Saxons for a few weeks combined with the fact that we haven’t replaced Nic Berry, who retired earlier in the season, we also needed another scrum-half and Stuart has good experience and has fitted in well so far.”

January 17, 2013

Tom Varndell pens new Wasps deal

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 01/17/2013

Wasps flyer Tom Varndell has signed a new contract that will keep him at the club for the "next few seasons".

Varndell has been in electric form for the Aviva Premiership side so far this term and has scored 13 tries in 16 games. Varndell's re-signing comes hot on the heels of Chris Bell's decision to stay with the team and will give Wasps fans some cheer after Billy Vunipola announced earlier this week that he will join Saracens at the end of the campaign.

January 16, 2013

Wasps name strong XV for Dragons

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 01/16/2013

Wasps boss Dai Young has refrained from fielding a second-string side for their match against the Dragons on Thursday despite his team already having booked their quarter-final spot.

Young wants his team to go into the knockout stages of the Amlin Challenge Cup with a home quarter-final to their name and he is fielding a team packed with internationals for their trip to Rodney Parade.

Wasps: Hugo Southwell (c), Christian Wade, Elliot Daly, Andrea Masi, Tom Varndell, Nick Robinson, Charlie Davies; Zak Taulafo, Tom Lindsay, Phil Swainston, Joe Launchbury, Marco Wentzel, Sam Jones, Jonathan Poff, Billy Vunipola

Replacements: T Rhys Thomas, Tim Payne, Will Taylor, James Cannon, Matt Everard, Joe Simpson, Stephen Jones, Chris Bell

Chris Bell extends with Wasps

Posted by Tom Hamilton on 01/16/2013

Wasps have secured centre Chris Bell on a new contract. The Aviva Premiership side had to cope with Saracens' capture of their star No.8 Billy Vunipola earlier this week but they will be pleased with Bell's decision to re-sign.

Dai Young, Wasps' director of rugby, said: “Chris has been excellent since he came here and worked very hard to get back from a tough injury. That work is being rewarded now and he’s put in some fine performances this season. We are delighted he’s committed his future here.”

Bell added: "I love playing for Wasps and the decision to extend my contract was an easy one to make. I believe under Dai Young we will continue to improve and I am very excited about the future of the club and hope to be a big part of it.”

January 15, 2013

Wasps coach annoyed by Vunipola departure

Posted by Jeremy Inson on 01/15/2013

London Wasps coach Dai Young has revealed that his club had little idea that Billy Vunipola was in talks with Premiership rivals Saracens.

“We are clearly hugely disappointed," Young said. "Billy is a player that the club identified some time ago as one with huge potential and he’s been developed by London Wasps, despite a period when he struggled with illness and injury, into one of the brightest young talents in English rugby.

“During our contract talks, the player had been adamant that he did not want to leave the club but we know he was under pressure for family reasons to go and join his brother at Saracens. We did everything in our power to keep Billy. Although we had heard the whispers about him going to Saracens, we were only officially informed yesterday afternoon that Billy was leaving and he had previously signed for them."

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