The rising stars have all agreed two year contracts with the club, following in the footsteps of Elliot Daly and Christian Wade who have also re-signed with Wasps in recent weeks.
London Wasps Academy has long been a hotbed for talent, producing some of the games greats in Dallaglio and Worsley, through to today’s most exciting names in Simpson, Waldouck, Rees and Webber to name but a few. With a large number of new faces bought into the 2010/11 Academy group, the latest crop have already made an impact and these three players have all made their mark on Wasps senior and A League stage as well as in the international age grade field.
19 year old full back Jack Wallace joined the Academy in 2003 and to date has five senior Wasps appearances under his belt, making his debut against Gloucester last season in the LV=Cup. He was selected into the England U20 squad this season having progressed from the England U18 Conference Squad in season 2008/09. A regular starter for Wasps A, Jack has shown excellent consistency in defence and strength and effectiveness as an attacking player.
Initially schooled at High Ash C of E Primary, he began playing while at Aylesbury Grammar School and went on to feature for Amersham and Chiltern. His talents continued to shine through when he moved on to RGS High Wycombe where he became joint captain of the first team and contributed to a series of Sevens’ tournament wins. Born in Milton Keynes, he led the South West U16, played for the U18 side and represented England at both levels with his appearances in the older age group including tours to Australia, Argentina and South Africa. Rugby is in Jack’s genes. His younger brother Tom played for England U16 's and is also part of Wasps current Academy structure whilst their grandfather Ted Woodward, a Barbarian, RAF, Wasps and Middlesex wing, won 15 England caps from 1952-56.
Also part of the current England U20s squad, back row Sam Jones is a player that has become more familiar to Wasps supporters at Adams Park in recent weeks. Collecting his senior debut off the bench against Newport Gwent Dragons on the 19th December, the 19 year old has built on his regular appearances and captaincy of the A League to become a real asset to the senior squad.
Sam has been a successful and important player for England at U16 and U18 age group levels over the years and now embarks on the England U20 fixture schedule with a Junior World Cup place being an immediate target. Sam was educated at Aylesbury Grammar School and under his leadership the school completed an unbeaten season to win the Rugby World Team of the Month for December 2009. Sam started the 2010/11 season with Chinnor RFC 1XV in National League 3 South, as a dual registered player, but has now moved to Blackheath RFC on loan for the reminder of this season and has made great progress since joining the Academy in 2005.
Joining the Academy last year, scrum half Jonah Holmes follows in the footsteps of Joe Simpson as the next St Benedicts School graduate to commit to black and gold. 18 year old Jonah recently featured at U18s divisional level for London South East and is pushing for his place in the England U20’s squad this season with some strong performances for London Wasps A team. Securing game time whilst on loan with Rosslyn Park, Jonah has already enjoyed senior opportunities supporting the 1XV as the travelling reserve, highlighting his huge potential for the future.
On the news, Director of Rugby Tony Hanks said, "We are delighted to retain the services of three very talented young players. We have great pride in our Academy set up and the work that Rob Smith, Chris Lloyd, Mark Lock, Ian Taplin, James Wade and the rest of the Academy staff have achieved - it is again paying dividends as we secure skilled and exciting players for the future. All thee players have already contributed to the Wasps cause – featuring in the A Team and in training week in week out– whilst Jack and Sam have secured game time with the 1XV. Their contribution at just 18 and 19 years old is impressive and we are delighted that they follow in the footsteps of Elliot Daly and Christian Wade to give that depth and variation to our wider squad for now and the long term."
Don't forget Wasps A take on London Irish A at Henley on Monday, kick off 3pm - for more on this game click here.