Masi and Everard return to Wasps alongside new Academy Manager Jonathan Pendlebury
Wasps are pleased to announce a new Academy structure ahead of the 2017/18 season.
The new set-up sees former Yorkshire Carnegie Academy Manager, Jonathan Pendlebury, appointed as Wasps Academy Manager and Italian international Andrea Masi return to the club alongside former Wasps’ flanker Matt Everard.
Jonathan Pendlebury assumes the role of Academy Manager following five years with Yorkshire Carnegie’s Academy, which he has led since September 2016. Pendlebury will report to Head of Recruitment Kevin Harman, whose expanded role now includes Wasps’ Academy and Pathway Development.
Pendlebury made 53 appearances for Leeds in the second row before retiring in 2012 to join the coaching staff. He has also represented Gloucester and Rotherham, as well as earning representative honours with England at U18, U19 and U21 level.
Andrea Masi, who won 95 caps for Italy and represented the Azzurri in four Rugby World Cups and 13 Six Nations Championships, will bring a wealth of experience with him when he returns to the club as Academy Coach.
Masi was the youngest player to play for Italy when he made his debut as an 18 year-old in 1999 and is well-placed to guide young players through the transition process as they embark on a career in professional rugby.
During his four years with Wasps, Masi was voted 2012/13 Supporters’ Player of the Season. Since his enforced retirement in 2016, due to an Achilles injury sustained in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Masi has been coaching at St Mary’s University and has previously coached at Slough RFC.
Back row Matt Everard returns to the club he represented between 2011 and 2014 as an Academy coach, while continuing his playing career with Nottingham Rugby. He was part of the England U20s side that made the Final of the 2011 Junior World Championship, alongside contemporaries including Joe Launchbury, Sam Jones, Christian Wade, Elliot Daly, Dan Robson and Guy Armitage. Everard also enjoyed a four-year spell with Leicester Tigers and has most recently been impressing as captain of Nottingham Rugby, where he has revelled in his role of leading a young, aspirational squad, and the responsibility of re-starting the club’s Academy.
Wasps’ new Academy Manager Jonathan Pendlebury said: “Firstly, I’d like to thank Yorkshire Carnegie for the opportunity to begin my coaching career over the past five seasons, during which time I have enjoyed getting to grips with coaching and ultimately leading the Academy set-up. It is a great club that has a wealth of very talented young players and coaches, but more so people, and I wish them all the very best for the future.
“I’m massively looking forward to joining Wasps at what is a very exciting time for the club following the recent move up to Coventry and the more recent move for the Academy as they slowly transition to the Midlands following the new agreement that was signed off last year, which included a change to the academy boundaries.
“It’s also an exciting time for the club, with a new structure for the Academy and a new group of coaches at the helm. It’s a fantastic opportunity for me professionally and for my family and it’s one that I can’t wait to get started with. I’m really looking forward to getting to grips with a new structure, a new group of coaches and a new group of players, who we will be looking to develop into junior international representatives, senior Wasps players and ultimately senior internationals.”
Speaking about his return to the club in a new role, Andrea Masi said: "I couldn't be happier to be back at Wasps as an Academy Coach. I'm really excited about this new challenge and I can't wait to start working with some of the best young, raw talent in the UK. I would like to thank Wasps for giving me this great opportunity."
Commenting on his appointment as Wasps Academy Coach, Matt Everard said: “I have really enjoyed my role at Nottingham, especially seeing players progress into the senior squad, and also working with everyone at Long Eaton RFC, where I completed my Level 3 coaching badge.
“I loved my time at Wasps as a player and learnt a lot from the coaches and players there. I have always aspired to return to the club in some role and, after enjoying coaching Academy players so much, I made that my focus. I’m very grateful to Dai and Kevin for giving me the opportunity to coach the Academy and I can't wait to start."
Speaking about Wasps’ new Academy set-up, Kevin Harman said: “This is a really exciting new chapter for the Academy and the club. We have identified the Academy as a key area to invest resource into, to ensure we are unearthing and developing some of the best young talent in our Academy area.
“Delivering an efficient and successful elite Development Pathway is critical to provide a steady flow of talented players into the professional first team environment. We are really pleased to be able to bring in coaches of the calibre and experience of Jonathan Pendlebury, Andrea Masi and Matt Everard.
“Jonathan has a strong track record of being able to spot and develop young talent, proven during his five years with Yorkshire Carnegie. He has a good reputation as a coach and person and we feel he will fit in brilliantly to the culture and ethos we have at Wasps.
“Andrea is Wasps through and through and one of the most respected players in the game at both international and Premiership level, renowned for his professionalism, uncompromising defence and his commitment to the team. He will bring with him bags of experience and is a perfect role model for aspiring professional sportsmen.
“Matt was an extremely popular member of our squad during his time here, having joined from Leicester Tigers after impressing for England U20s. He has proven himself to be a strong leader and talented coach during his time with Nottingham and we are looking forward to the impact he can make at Wasps.
“These three new members of staff will add massively to our environment, not only as coaches but also importantly as fantastic men. Our academy players are very lucky to have them guide and develop them and I’m sure our young players will be excited to be coached by them. We are looking forward to the progress our Academy teams can make under Jonathan, Andrea and Matt."