Wasps lose their Springbok sting
TRANSFER NEWS: Wasps have confirmed that two of their key players will be leaving the club at the end of the season
England No.8 Nathan Hughes and Springbok fullback Willie Le Roux are exiting the Ricoh.
Hughes will join Bristol Bears, but there is no confirmation where Le Roux is heading.
Le Roux was previously linked with a move to the Bulls, while a move to Japan is also an option.
“It’s always disappointing to lose players of such quality but this is professional sport and there isn’t much you can do about it,” Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young said.
“There are a number of factors that play a part in players’ decisions to move on and unfortunately these guys have opted to move onto pastures new for 2019/20.
“Nathan arrived from New Zealand’s domestic scene and has risen to the top during his time at Wasps, going on to become an England international.
“It’s a credit to the Club that we’ve been able to help him realise his potential and although it’s a blow to lose such a quality player, we wish him all the best.
“Willie joined Wasps at a time when he wasn’t a part of the Springboks side and since making the move here, he has rediscovered his form and shown that he is a world-class player which in turn has seen him restored to the national side, going on to make over 50 appearances.
“We’d like to place our thanks on record to Willie for his great service to the Club over the past two-and-a-half seasons.”
Hughes, who has made 118 appearances for Wasps, said: “It’s been a great six years at Wasps and even though it was a tough decision, I’m keen to test myself in a new environment. I’ll be sad to leave some great friends and teammates but I’d like to thank everyone for making the last six years so memorable and wish everyone involved with the Club the best for the future.”
Le Roux said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Wasps and would like to thank everyone involved with the Club for their support. I’ll continue to give my all till the end of the season in the Black and Gold.”
* The 27-year-old Hughes will join Bristol Bears on a three-year deal.
“It’s tremendous to secure Nathan’s signing and to see how excited he is about coming to Bristol and helping us realise our vision,” said coach Pat Lam.
“He’s a quality rugby player who brings physicality, power and brute strength to our game.
“At 27 years old, we’re excited about how much better he can become as we continue to grow as a team.
“We are striving to be a Champions Cup team and a player of Nathan’s quality can help us along our journey, on and off the field.”
A product of the Auckland academy, Hughes has earned eighteen international caps for England since a debut in 2016.
He added: “When I talked to Pat about the direction of the club and the ambition at Bristol, it really excited me.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of guys there and they have been really positive about the environment and the unbelievable support for the Bears in the city.
“There’s still a lot I want to achieve and the quality of coaching and the squad at Bristol means that everything is in place to be successful.”