Wasps are delighted to confirm contract extensions for another seven players.
Elliot Daly, Ashley Johnson, Matt Mullan and Joe Simpson, who have played an instrumental role in helping Wasps achieve their targeted top-six finish and European qualification, have all put pen to paper and committed their futures to Wasps.
Talented up-and-coming players, Sam Jones, Thomas Young and Will Rowlands have also earned new contracts, having impressed both in training and in appearances for Wasps this season.
They join a long list of players who have already extended their stay with Wasps this season: Josh Bassett, James Cannon, Carlo Festuccia, James Haskell, Nathan Hughes, Ruaridh Jackson, Ben Jacobs, Joe Launchbury, Simon McIntyre and Phil Swainston.
26 year-old scrum half Joe Simpson, who has amassed over 150 appearances for the club since graduating from the Wasps Academy, has been in outstanding form this season and has played his way into contention for England’s World Cup squad.
Simpson, who was named Aviva Premiership Player of the month for April, said: "I’m delighted to have committed my long-term future and the prime of my career to Wasps, the club I supported as a youngster growing up. It’s been my second home really for the last 10 years.
"It’s an exciting time for me personally. I feel I am playing the best rugby of my life and I feel Wasps are playing the most exciting rugby I can remember since I’ve been a member of the first team. We made some great signings last season and have some more coming for next season. We’ve also kept the majority of our young squad together, who are pushing forward. While we achieved our target of top six, in some ways we feel we had the potential to achieve more, and that’s what we will focus on next season, as we keep growing as a team.
"When you’ve got important signatures, like Joe Launchbury, who was probably one of the most wanted players in world rugby, and more importantly a fellow changing room E member, it’s pleasing to see the club hold onto its best players and this is the foundation for us to hopefully build on."
Elliot Daly has also been a stand-out player for Wasps, culminating in his nomination for the Land Rover Discovery of the Season and Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the season at this year’s Premiership Rugby Awards.
The outside centre, who many believe could also be named in Stuart Lancaster’s England squad, said: "I’m really pleased to have signed a new contract with an awesome club. I didn’t look anywhere else; when I got the contract offer I wanted to sign it straight away. I have loved being a part of this team and I’m looking forward to continuing to strive for success with this group. Dai has shown a lot of faith in me this year, giving me the license to play at 13, and I’m really pleased to be able to repay that by signing a new deal."
Wasps’ Vice Captain Matt Mullan, who has led the team brilliantly this season in the absence of Haskell on England duty, has been one of Wasps most consistent performers, producing the kind of form which earned him a place in England’s squad for the autumn internationals.
The loose-head prop, who will also be hoping to force his way back into England contention, said: "I still had a year left on my contract and I re-signed early as I was really keen to be involved. The club is moving in a really exciting direction after the off-field changes this season, moving to the Ricoh Arena, and the performances on the field have reflected that.
"We have a great squad and I have loved being a part of that group and working with the coaching team we have here, especially Dai Young who has helped me continue to improve my game. I’m looking forward to what this group can achieve in the next few years and am really pleased to be a part of it."
Back row Ashley Johnson, who has three caps for the Springboks, has become a firm favourite at the Ricoh Arena, with his trademark bullocking runs and shuddering defence. His speed and deft touches, as well as his ability to play hooker, make him a rare find in the game.
Johnson said: "When I was offered a new contract, it was a no brainer really. I am loving playing for Wasps. Seeing how far the club has come over the past few months and the ambition Wasps has shown on and off the field, I think we all feel we are building something special and I really want to be part of that.
"We have so many talented young guys and we’re moving in the direction. It won’t come overnight, but I really believe with the squad we have, and with a number of players re-signing and sticking together, we can develop into a squad which will win silverware. While I’ve loved being part of an incredible back row, I’ve also been really fortunate to have coaches like Dai who are willing to help guide me through the transition to hooker, which I’m also excited to play in the long-term."
Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young said: "We are over the moon that each of these players has re-committed to the club. Ashley, Elliot, Joe and Matt have been absolutely outstanding for Wasps all season, as is reflected in numerous award nominations and they have played a huge part in helping to drive this club up the table to a top six finish for European qualification.
"I wouldn’t swap these guys for any other player in their position in the Aviva Premiership and I really hope they get the call-ups to their international squads that their performances this season deserve.
"Sam Jones has struggled a bit with injury, but he has always made a huge impact whenever he has been part of the squad and I think we will see the best of him next season.
"Will Rowlands is also a player to keep an eye on. He is very talented and an intelligent player, who will continue to learn a lot from Joe Launchbury, Bradley Davies, James Gaskell and Kearnan Myall.
"I’ve also been really pleased with how Thomas Young has taken his opportunities whenever he has started or come off the bench this season and he has certainly made his presence felt with a man of the match performance and five tries in 13 appearances.
"We now have a really strong core to the squad, which we can continue to build on, and I’m excited to see how much further these players will develop, having already taken huge strides forward this season."