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Long serving London Wasps Academy Manager steps down

Long serving London Wasps Academy Manager Rob Smith is to move on from the Club after 17 years of outstanding service.

Smith has been a stalwart employee of London Wasps for almost two decades and a Wasps club member for almost 40 years, having played for Wasps, then a solely amateur team, between 1974 and 1985.

At the end of his playing career, Smith took up the head coach role at the Club, steering Wasps to the first professional league championship in 1997, and also coaching Wasps to numerous Middlesex Sevens titles.

In 1999, he was appointed to the role of London Wasps Academy Manager and in this role he has guided a host of young players through the Club’s structures through to senior international honours with a highlight being a full English back row selection of Tom Rees, James Haskell and Joe Worsley, who had all had developed through Youth and Academy structures introduced by Smith.

In recent years Smith has been managing and coaching within the Club’s Academy structure which operates at three levels, starting at the U13 age band through to 24-years-old incorporating the Schools of Rugby, Elite Player Development Group and England Academy Players.

Christian Wade, Sam Jones, Elliot Daly, Tom Lindsay, James Haskell, Joe Launchbury, Alec Hepburn, Nathan Morris, Jonah Holmes and Joe Simpson are currently London Wasp senior squad players who were identified and developed within these structures, with many others either retired or having moved on.

On his decision to move on, Smith said: “I feel in the best long term interests of the Club that this would be the right time for me to step aside. I am very proud of the contribution I have made to this great Club in various roles and content that I am leaving a very strong legacy of playing excellence at all age bands for the club to develop through to the top levels of the game. I have enjoyed fantastic support from players, parents, supporters and staff throughout my time with Wasps and simply offer a big thank you to one and all.”

Dai Young said: “On behalf of everyone at London Wasps, I want to say a big thanks to Rob for his many years of hard work and his efforts over such a long period. Rob has a long history and association with the Club and he should be incredibly proud of everything he has achieved over the years. I wish him all the very best in the future.”

London Wasps will shortly be recruiting for a new Academy Manager.