RUGBY UNION: DAI Young already has one eye on the 2017/18 season after bolstering his front row with the signings of winger Marcus Watson and prop Ben Harris from Newcastle Falcons, as well as Solihull-born hooker Antonio ‘TJ’ Harris.
Watson, 27, helped Great Britain Sevens win a silver medal at the Rio Olympics and has also represented England in the World Rugby U20s Championship.
Harris will return to Wasps next season, having impressed during his short-term loan stint with the club. The England Counties prop previously represented Yorkshire Carnegie and Rotherham Titans before joining Falcons.
In addition to the GB Sevens flyer and loose-head prop, Wasps will also be joined by Harris who is currently playing his rugby in the Championship with Nottingham Rugby.
Known for his explosive power, Harris will add to Wasps’ talented pool of hookers next season, which includes Tommy Taylor, Ashley Johnson and Tom Cruse.
“Every squad is ambitious to evolve and improve, so it’s important to keep one eye on the future and make sure all the building blocks are in place to continue the squad’s progression,” said Young.
“I’m already very happy with the squad we have developed here at Wasps and we’re now in a place where we only need to make a handful of new signings, rather than 12-13 as in previous years.
“Continuity is really important, so it’s very much a case of adding to the talent we already have and making sure we have at least two quality players in each position, to provide the depth needed to be consistently competitive at the highest level.
“We’re pleased to bolster our front row options for next season, with the addition of Ben Harris and TJ Harris.
“We already know a lot about Ben and believe he has real potential at this level. TJ Harris has also impressed us in the Championship and we think he still has lots of growth in him.
“At only 22, he will only get better and we’re sure they will both become valuable members of our squad.
“Marcus Watson will be another exciting addition to our backline. Everyone has seen how Wasps like to play rugby. We always want an exciting back three, with pace on the wing, as we feel we have great distributors in our inside backs so we want to make sure we have deadly finishers to execute the chances they create.
“Marcus certainly fits into that category brilliantly, as he has shown already at international level on the 7s circuit and in the Aviva Premiership.”
Wasps have also confirmed this week that Phil Swainston will join Harlequins next season after five years at the club.
The tighthead prop joined Wasps in 2012 from Leed Carnegie and made a total of 82 appearances in black and gold.
“I am really grateful for the help and support that Dai Young and Wasps have given me during my time at the club,” said Swainston said. “I have made lifelong friendships and I will always have great memories of my time at Wasps.
“My attention will turn to Harlequins in the summer, which will be an exciting new challenge, but for now I will be doing all I can to finish the season with Wasps on a high, as we compete both domestically and in Europe.”