Wasps announce four new signings for 2015/16 season
Wasps are pleased to announce four new signings for the 2015/16 season.
Centre James Downey will remain at Wasps next season, having impressed in black and gold since arriving from Glasgow Warriors in February as injury cover for Alapati Leiua, Chris Bell and Ben Jacobs.
“I’m absolutely delighted to be kept on at Wasps,” said Downey. “It’s a really exciting time for the club and I’m really looking forward to playing at the Ricoh next year in front of the Wasps fans again. It has been a great year for the team and the building blocks are in place for us to really kick on next year.
“I have really enjoyed playing in what is a very exciting backline and, with a few new faces next season, I can’t wait to be involved. It will be a very strong group and that’s what you want to be a part of. I’m really looking forward to it and things are only going to get better. Things are moving up at a fast pace and you want to be part of that.”
The following players will also join up with the Wasps’ squad for pre-season:
Centre Brendan Macken, 24, will provide another exciting option in midfield. The Ireland U20 international and Emerging Ireland centre spent part of last season on loan with Gloucester from Leinster, the province he has represented for five years.
Macken commented: “I am incredibly grateful for my time with Leinster Rugby, who I have been proud to represent since leaving school. I would like to thank everyone involved with Leinster - coaches, players, the backroom team and supporters - for everything they have done for me over the years. It has been an incredible part of my life for five years.
“I also really enjoyed my experience with Gloucester this season and the couple of months playing for them in the Premiership and thank them for the opportunity as well.
“I’m delighted to sign for Wasps. They’re a massive club in England and their reputation is getting better and better on an off the pitch, and I just hope I can contribute in some way.
“I hope to get as much experience as I can and will try to maximise any opportunities I have. Wasps have some really talented players, particularly in the centres. I’ve played against Elliot Daly in the past and was really impressed with Alapati Leiua against Leinster at the RDS this season. There are also really talented guys behind them as well. I’m looking forward to being part of the Wasps’ set-up, working hard and contributing as best I can to help the team continue to improve.”
23 year-old loose-head, Tom Bristow will arrive from Leicester after two seasons with the Tigers, following 21 appearances for London Welsh.
Bristow said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Leicester Tigers. I feel I’ve developed a lot and I’d like to thank them for my two years there. Boris Stankovich in particular has helped me massively with my scrummaging. The atmosphere with the boys there, seniors and younger guys, was top notch.
“I’m really excited about joining Wasps. When I was younger, I went to one of Wasps’ summer camps, which Martin Purdy was coaching at, so I’ve always had some connection to Wasps and I always used to look up to players like Joe Worsley and Lawrence Dallaglio.
“The direction Wasps is going in is fantastic, and being part of what the club is building will be an incredible experience.
“As a prop, I’m really looking forward to working with Dai Young on the training field. Then there’s Matt Mullan and Simon McIntyre as well, who are brilliant scrummagers, so I hope to learn from them as well. Wasps have got a really good scrum and that’s another reason why I was keen to join the club.”
23 year-old, Scotland A scrum half, Jamie Stevenson, will provide another option at nine after four seasons with London Scottish, when he joins up with former Whitgift School team mate Elliot Daly.
“It seems a long time ago now, but it will be good to link back up with Elliot,” said Stevenson. He was a stand-out player then and still is now, as you can see from his England call-up which is fantastic for him. He deserved it massively after his performances this season.
“I’m very excited to be moving to Wasps. It’s definitely a club that's going places at the moment. They’re in a really good place moving forward, and they’ve obviously got big plans.
“I’m looking forward to making the step up and really challenging myself. I’ll work as hard as I can when I get there and try to fit in as best as possible, while learning off senior players like Joe Simpson, who has also been in unbelievable form this season.
“I’ve played against Dan Robson a couple of times at age-grade level, so I know he’s a very good player as well, so I’ll try to push them as hard as I can and learn off them.
“I’ve been at London Scottish my entire adult rugby career. They’ve done more for my development than they could probably imagine. They let me progress from part-time to full-time rugby and I’d like to thank every player, coach and support staff member I’ve worked with over the past four years for giving me the opportunity and supporting me.”
Wasps’ Director of Rugby Dai Young said:
“As everyone knows, the depth of your squad is extremely important. You need high quality cover for injuries and to be able to rest players when they need it during the year, managing the squad to arrive at the business end of the season in the best shape possible.
“We have three talented, young players coming in in Brendan Macken, Tom Bristow and Jamie Stevenson, who I believe will fit really well into the squad. I’m also pleased that James Downey will be staying next season – his experience at the top level has been really beneficial since he joined and you know he will always produce a quality performance in midfield.
“I am really pleased with our recruitment to date. We already have a very strong nucleus to the squad of young home-grown talent, who have gone from strength to strength this season and who have re-committed to the club. We have been able to complement that core group with experienced players such as Bradley Davies and Alapati Leiua this season and next season will do the same through Jimmy Gopperth.
“Add to that the exciting up-and-coming talent we have joining, in England Saxons scrum half Dan Robson and All Black Frank Halai, and I think we will be in a good place next season. We are also looking at a couple of other players, but will announce these when finalised.”