Wasps have signed some ‘absolute gems’ according to head coach Lee Blackett who staunchly defended the club’s transfer business so far.
Five of Wasps’ seven new recruits will join from current Greene King IPA Championship clubs in the form of Ali Crossdale (Saracens), Robin Hislop (Doncaster Knights), Elliot Millar-Mills (Ealing Trailfinders), Dan Frost (Cornish Pirates) while Luke Mehson is currently on loan at Nottingham.
“We’ve got Championship guys in that we believe are Premiership rugby players,” said Blackett, who joined Wasps from Rotherham Titans in 2015. “Trust me, there’s a couple of absolute gems in there that I think in three or four months of time, straight away they’ll be ready playing Premiership rugby.
He added: “Some of them they’ve replaced some of our squad guys but we feel that they’re going to improve us. I think it’s a little bit disrespectful to say just because they’re playing in the Championship. Just recently a couple of seasons ago Tom Cruse gets our players’ player of the year wins every award possible.
“I was at Rotherham and we picked him from National 2 North. I think [James] Haskell used to call him community Cruse because he was a community rugby player then found himself and he found himself in the Premiership playing week in, week out.”
Wasps’ other two signings that have been announced so far are brimming with top-level experience in the form of Elliott Stooke from Bath and Francois Hougaard from Worcester Warriors.
Blackett revealed that more signings could be just around the corner.
Ben Morris (Nottingham, 2018)
Josh Bassett (Bedford Blues, 2013)
Michael Le Bourgeois (Bedford Blues, 2018)
Guy Thompson (Jersey Reds, 2013)
Biyi Alo (Coventry, 2018)
Ross Neal (London Scottish, 2018)
Billy Searle (Bristol Bears, 2018)
Theo Vukasinovic (London Scottish, 2019)
Thibaud Flament (Loughborough Students, 2019)
Sam Wolstenholme (Yorkshire Carnegie, 2019)
“We’re hopefully very close to signing a back-rower and ideally a second row at some point and we are looking for quality in those positions, probably that have all played top-flight rugby,” he said. “But one thing, I would definitely not disrespect these guys that are coming in, these guys are being brought in to add quality.
“You can unearth some gems. We fully believe we’ve got some of the best guys from the Championship and will go on to have a positive career with wasps.”
Players that are confirmed to be leaving Wasps this summer so far are: Lima Sopoaga (Lyon), Jack Owlett and Sione Vailanu (both Worcester Warriors), Will Rowlands (Dragons), Tommy Taylor (Sale Sharks) and Ben Vellacott (Edinburgh).