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Wasps announce 2010/11 Academy intake

London Wasps have today confirmed their Academy roster for the 2010/11 season

Christian Wade has impressed for England Sevens and U20s

Christian Wade has impressed for England Sevens and U20s

The squad of 11 retains the services of current senior Academy talents Joe Burton (back row), Will Fulton (fly half), Christian Wade (wing) and Jack Wallace (full back).

Of the new intake, three players, Chris Elder (centre), Sam Jones (number eight) and Sam Northcote-Green (back row) graduate Wasps Junior Academy stream. 18-year-old Chris Elder joined the Academy in 2005 and has since achieved honours with England U18 and represented Wasps A team last season. Also on Wasps books since 2005, 19-year-old Sam Jones has secured honours as part of the England U16 and U18 squads, winning the ‘Best Player Award’ at U16 level. He has featured for Wasps in both the A league and Sevens teams and will be on loan to Chinnor RFC, former home of now senior squad member and Academy graduate Bob Baker. Completing the trio of graduates, Sam Northcote-Green, part of the same 2005 intake, progresses to the Senior Academy with England honours with the U16 ‘A’ and U18 squads in 2007/08 and 2009/10. The back row forward will follow in the footsteps of many Wasps players on a loan agreement with local club Blackheath RFC.

Fellow back row forward Alex Fan also steps up the Wasps ranks in 2010/11, progressing from Wasps Academy Apprenticeship. 18-year-old Fan has impressed with his high work rate and outstanding potential and is just one more success story from Wasps development programme introduced in 2006.

Jack Wallace had his senior Wasps debut last season and has also played for England U20s

Jack Wallace had his senior Wasps debut last season and has also played for England U20s

New to the Club, joining from Sale Sharks Academy, 19-year-old Mark Atkinson brings with him experience with England U18 and more recently at U20s level featuring in the 2010 Six Nations. Comfortable at both 10 and 12, he made his Guinness Premiership debut against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road for Sale in 2008.

Jonah Holmes (scrum half) and Joe Launchbury (second row) complete Wasps Academy squad list. A product of the St Benedict’s School in Ealing, Holmes follows closely in the footsteps of former Wasps Academy player Joe Simpson. The 17-year-old was labelled the outstanding player in the recent U18 Divisional Festival by Wasps Academy Manager Rob Smith and will gain some valuable experience on loan to Rosslyn Park next season. Also receiving notable praise from former England and Wasps tight head prop Will Green, second row Launchbury joins the Club from Worthing RFC on Director of Rugby Green’s recommendation. The 19-year-old lock has represented England at AER U18 level and has already made several appearances for Wasps A team.

Speaking on the new look Academy squad, Academy Manager Rob Smith said, “We are really pleased to see so many of our Junior Academy step up to the next level and form this exciting group. The Academy system has continued to produce the next generation of Wasps with the most recent graduates Bob Baker and Tom Lindsay receiving senior contracts for 2010/11. Christian Wade has flourished on the Sevens and U20s stage and similarly Jack Wallace has picked up time with the U20s and made his senior Wasps debut this season, setting a great example to this new intake of what can be achieved through hard work. All of these Academy players offer different strengths and levels of ability and we are especially pleased to see the success of the Apprenticeship scheme with the promotion of Alex Fan.

“Whilst we look forward to working with this new group it is also important to thank those players who leave the Academy and embark on their next career move. Nick Porter (Blackheath RFC), Ollie Holmes (London Scottish), Will East (London Scottish), Arthur Ellis (Newport Gwent Dragons), Peter Elder (London Scottish) and Chris Whitehead (London Welsh) have performed well and worked hard during their time at the Club and we wish them well as they continue along their development pathways. For the players who continue to be based in London, there will be further opportunities with the Wasps A team and we will continue to monitor their progress.

“A special mention should also be made of Ollie Holmes, who we are hopeful will finalise his two season rehab and return to the playing field at the start of next season. Ollie suffered a serious injury at the end of 2007/08, having graduated from the Academy Apprenticeship, and has worked hard over the last two years to get back to this point. Wasps will continue to provide Ollie with medical support as he competes for a starting position with London Scottish.”

London Wasps 2010/11 Academy Squad

Mark Atkinson (Centre/Fly Half)
Joe Burton (Back Row)
Chris Elder (Centre)
Alex Fan (Back Row)
Will Fulton (Fly Half)
Jonah Holmes (Scrum Half)
Sam Jones (Number Eight)
Sam Northcote-Green (Back Row)
Joe Launchbury (Second Row)
Christian Wade (Wing)
Jack Wallace (Full Back)