| Ashley Johnson among Wasps quintet to extend stays

Cape Town – Wasps quintet Jimmy Gopperth, Ashley Johnson, Tommy Taylor, Ben Harris and Simon McIntyre have signed contract extensions with the club.

All five experienced first-team stars have put pen to paper as director of rugby Dai Young assembles his squad for the 2019/20 Premiership season.

The five players have a combined 480 Wasps appearances in 24 seasons between them, with four of them having featured in the 2016/17 Premiership final, demonstrating the continuity and stability within the squad which has been built over recent seasons.

Kiwi flyhalf Gopperth, 35, has been a huge hit since arriving at Ricoh Arena in 2015, having amassed 771 points in 78 appearances as he helped the men in Black and Gold to the Premiership semi-finals in each of the last three seasons, while also landing the Premiership Golden Boot in 2016/17.

Fan-favourite Johnson, 32, who plays at both hooker and flank, joined the club in 2012 and has gone on to rack up 38 tries in a whopping 175 appearances. The Springbok international has captained the side on a number of occasions, most recently in Sunday’s clash with Bath.

Wasps director of rugby Young said: “Both Jimmy and Ashley are fantastic athletes who give absolutely everything when they pull on the Black and Gold and their experience across the board is crucial, not only in matches, but in helping develop some of our younger players.

“They have both given an awful lot to the club and to have them extend their stays at the Ricoh is a huge coup.”

Loosehead prop McIntyre, 27, moved to Wasps in 2011 from Sale Sharks and has enjoyed eight seasons with the Black and Gold, racking up 153 appearances.

England international Taylor, 27, is another who made the switch from Sale back in 2016, with the hooker having played 41 times for Wasps.

Loosehead prop Harris, 29, has become a familiar name on the teamsheet since making a permanent switch to the club in 2017, making 33 appearances to date.

Young added: “Si, Tommy and Ben have all been tremendous performers in the front-row in recent seasons.

“Our scrum has been in pretty good shape and to have these guys committing themselves to the club and recognise the direction in which we are heading is really important to the stability and continuity of the squad.

“With five experienced players penning new deals it sends out a really positive message to some of our younger players that Wasps is a place where individuals can come and realise their potential.”

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