AN EMOTIONAL Ben Jacobs has described Wasps as his second home after bringing to an end his 14-year career in the sport to an end.
The Australian centre has confirmed he will retire from professional rugby after becoming one of the most respected members of the Wasps squad during two spells with the club.
After six years with NSW Waratahs, Jacobs spent a season with Saracens before heading to Wasps in 2009, where he made a formidable impact in black and gold racking up 57 appearances during his first two seasons.
In 2011, he moved to Japanese side Kyuden Voltex for two seasons before migrating back to Australia to join Western Force.
The experienced centre returned to Wasps at the start of the 2013/14 season, where his calm authority and consistency in taking the right option proved hugely beneficial to the developing young side.
This season, Jacobs again played a significant role in Wasps’ success, providing a reassuring presence in midfield with his strong organisational skills and ability to create opportunities for those around him.
“I have had a great time at Wasps and have made many lifelong friends,” said Jacobs. “I feel like it is my home away from home and although I am sad to leave, I feel now is the right time.
“To all those supporters who welcomed me, I say thank you. I will now be focusing on the next chapter of my life, which I’m very excited about especially with the arrival of our first baby boy Kobe. I look forward to watching Wasps continue their resurgence next year and wish the team the best of luck for the future.
“I have been very fortunate and grateful to play a game I have loved for 14 years. I always dreamed of playing rugby as a young boy and for me, this dream came true.
“I would like to thank Bob Dwyer who signed me to my first professional contract, Ewen McKenzie for giving me my first cap as a Waratah, Eddie Jones for bringing me over to Europe, Tony Hanks and Shaun Edwards for convincing me to sign with Wasps and Dai Young in bringing me back to Wasps. You all have impacted my career and life in such a good way, so thank you.”
Wasps’ director of rugby Young added: “Ben has been a key figure within Wasps’ squad during his two stints with the club and, as a senior member of the team, he has been a great influence within this group on and off the field.
“Ben has made a big contribution to Wasps over the past few seasons as we’ve worked our way up the table and we wish him the very best for the future.”
Wasps have also confirmed this week that Jake Cooper-Woolley, James Gaskell, Alex Lundberg, Simon McIntyre and Will Rowlands have all committed their future to the club after agreeing long-term contract extensions.
Young added: “It’s been couple of years of change at Wasps and, with the move of the training ground and playing staff to Coventry next season, we’re really pleased another five players have bought into the vision and are enjoying the direction the club is moving in.
“Jake, James, Alex, Simon and Will are all at different stages of their development, but each of their games has come on significantly this season and, as young, talented players, they still have plenty of exciting potential to fulfil.
“They will be looking to kick on with their careers and we’re very pleased they will be doing that in black and gold.”