Five players have committed their futures to Wasps, with Jake Cooper-Woolley, James Gaskell, Alex Lundberg, Simon McIntyre and Will Rowlands all having agreed long-term contract extensions.
Jake Cooper-Woolley joined Wasps from Cardiff Blues in 2013, with his potential already spotted by Dai Young the previous season during his stand-out performances for Cardiff University. He has become a key figure in Wasps’ pack with his performances at tight-head earning him another England Saxons call-up for the summer tour to South Africa.
James Gaskell arrived at Wasps ahead of the 2014/15 campaign and has impressed in the second row, including a man of the match performance in Wasps’ home win over Toulon this season, before a foot injury cut short his season.
England U20s prop Alex Lundberg, who was nominated for Wasps’ Academy Player of the Season, has been awarded a contract with the senior squad. Lundberg has had an excellent season on loan in the Championship, helping Bedford to reach the play-offs.
Simon McIntyre, who can play on both sides of the scrum, joined Wasps from Sale Sharks in 2011 and has gone on to make over 100 appearances for the club. Forming a strong loosehead trio this season with co-captain Matt Mullan and newcomer Tom Bristow, McIntyre has been at the heart of Wasps’ successful 2015/16 campaign, featuring in 25 out of 31 games.
Highly-rated second row prospect Will Rowlands, who is a graduate of Wasps’ Academy and Oxford University, spent the early part of the season on loan with Jersey, before returning to make seven appearances for Wasps.
Wasps’ Director of Rugby Dai Young said: “We’re delighted to have extended the contracts of these five players, who all deserve their new deals after impressing for Wasps again this season.
“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.”
Jake Cooper-Woolley said: “I’m very happy with how things have progressed for me personally here at Wasps, after being given the opportunity by Dai. It’s great to see now how the club is starting to become successful again, competing at the top end of the table and it feels like a great place to be.
“I’ve learned bucket-loads while I’ve been at the club, concentrating on scrum-time and getting used to working in a full-time environment. The change in my game is immeasurable really and I think I’m a totally different player now to when I arrived, thanks to the coaches here, like Dai at scrum-time, Brad in defence and Lee [Blackett] and before that Steve [Jones] in attack. It’s a good place for me to enjoy my rugby and I can’t imagine playing anywhere else.”
James Gaskell said: “I’m obviously over the moon to have extended my contract here at Wasps. It’s been another really good season for the club. I’ve felt my game has developed massively over the last couple of seasons here and I hope to be able to continue to improve as a player.
“We have a lot of talented young players here and with some of the experience Dai has also added to the squad, it’s a great environment to be in and it made the decision to sign a new contract very easy. It was frustrating to pick up an injury when I did this season, but things have progressed really well and I’m looking forward to being back fit and hopefully playing my part in the pre-season games.”
Simon McIntyre said: “I’m really pleased to have signed a new contract with Wasps. I feel my game has really come on during the past couple of years and that’s coincided with the club also really moving forward.
“In my first year here, we were in a relegation battle, this season we’ve reached two Semi Finals. I’ve really enjoyed being part of that progression and it was fantastic to experience a European and Premiership Semi Final. It’s something I, like all the guys, want to experience more of and where we want to be. I’m sure this squad will continue to progress and will hopefully soon be playing in Finals and winning silverware.”
Alex Lundberg said: “I’m really pleased to have been given this opportunity and to commit my future to the club. I’ve had a personal attachment to Wasps since 2000, when I started playing in the minis here as a six year-old, and I have loved my time at Wasps Academy since I was 14.
“Training alongside the senior squad this season has been massively beneficial for my game, as has the extra game-time on loan with Rosslyn Park and Bedford. I can’t speak highly enough about my time with those two clubs and thank them for their support. This season has gone really well for Wasps’ first team squad and I am excited about what next season will bring and am looking forward to getting stuck in.”
Will Rowlands said: "I'm really happy to have been able to commit to Wasps in what is going to be an exciting new chapter in the club's history. I've been fortunate to be surrounded by some very talented players and coaches over the past two years, and I'm really glad that I will be able to continue my development around them. This year has given me a small taste of Premiership and European rugby, and I am looking forward to pressing my case for more involvements next season."