Wasps Rugby have officially opened the doors of their new state-of-the-art Elite Performance and Innovation Centre – which gives the club one of the finest training complexes in English rugby.
The multi-million-pound centre at Henley-in-Arden will be the new home of Wasps’ men’s first team and academy.
It has taken six months to build the facility on the 13-acre site at a cost of £4 million, with the construction project completed by Warwickshire-based development partner Wigley Building & Development.
Staff and players have now started to use the facility as they prepare for the start of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby season on Saturday 25 September against Bristol Bears at Coventry Building Society Arena.
The Elite Performance and Innovation Centre will be Wasps first permanent training ground of its own since leaving Sudbury in 1999.
It features a grass pitch which is identical in size to the pitch at the club’s home ground Coventry Building Society Arena. A 3G plus surface has also been installed next to the grass pitch to allow for training in all weather conditions.
Work has included the creation of a purpose-built gym – kitted out by Nuneaton specialist Indigo Fitness – and the construction of a media centre, medical complex and offices for coaching and administration staff.
For player recovery there are two large hydrotherapy pools and a sauna – as directly requested by England and Wasps star Jack Willis, named in his honour!
To make the facility as eco-friendly as possible low energy LED lighting has been installed on the sport pitches and car parks, and Wasps has introduced significant waste recycling measures, including for the cut grass.
Wasps have also worked with ecologists and arborists to create a wildlife catchment area in a pond on the site, with the pool also providing a water run-off for the two rugby pitches nearby.
The Elite Performance and Innovation Centre sees Wasps lay down further roots in Coventry and Warwickshire and signals a move to strengthen the club’s position in the region.
As part of a commitment to the local community, the Wasps Community Foundation will also be working to develop grassroots sport in Henley-in-Arden.
Stephen Vaughan, Wasps Group Chief Executive, said: “The new training centre provides the perfect professional environment to support the development of elite athletes and is without doubt one of the finest training complexes in the sport.
“This has been a significant investment and signals an exciting new era for the club. It is an investment that not only supports the Wasps players of today but will be essential to the growth of the players of tomorrow in our academy.
“It’s important for us that we have a positive impact in the communities we work in and we will be rolling out an extensive programme to support grass roots sports in Henley-in-Arden and the surrounding areas in the coming months.”
Lee Blackett, Wasps Men’s Head Coach, said: “The new performance centre is a real boost for the Club, it is great to have our own permanent home.
“The facility is amazing and provides us with one of the best training environments in the Premiership. These are exciting times for everybody connected to Wasps.”
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Pat Lam commits long-term future to Bristol Bears
Pat Lam has committed his long-term future to Bristol Bears.
The Director of Rugby agrees a new five-year contract, following the completion of his existing deal, until the end of the 2027/2028 campaign.
The most successful Bristol coach since the game turned professional, Lam achieved an immediate promotion back to the top-flight in his first season at the helm. In 2019, he led Bears to ninth position – the highest points tally for a newly promoted club in twelve years.
A year later, Bristol clinched a third placed finish in the Gallagher Premiership and secured their first major silverware since 1983 with a European Challenge Cup Final victory over Toulon.
“He has embraced the rebrand and our vision of ‘Inspiring Our Community Through Rugby Success’. From the Academy to our Women’s team, Pat lives and breathes our mission every day. He has given the city a rugby club we can be proud of.”
Then, last season, Bristol recorded their highest ever regular season position, topping the table and making the Champions Cup knockout stages, while Lam was awarded Global Reach Director of Rugby of the Year.
Owner Steve Lansdown said: “What Pat and his team have achieved in a short space of time at Bristol Bears is excellent, but it’s not just the way that the team have performed on the field, it’s the culture and standards he has set to continually drive the organisation forward.
“Bristol Bears are on an exciting journey, and we are delighted to have Pat at the forefront of that. He has embraced the rebrand and our vision of ‘Inspiring Our Community Through Rugby Success’. From the Academy to our Women’s team, Pat lives and breathes our mission every day. He has given the city a rugby club we can be proud of.”
Chairman Chris Booy said: “We’re delighted to have secured Pat’s signature on a long-term contract. It’s no surprise he would have the interest of every top club in the world, so it’s testament to the ambition of the Bears that Pat was eager to stay.
“We are absolutely aligned on the direction of the club. Bristol Bears will continue to grow and we will achieve sustainable success at the top of the domestic and European game.
“Pat has built a squad of humble young men who not only represent our community superbly, they play an innovative brand of rugby that has everybody taking notice.”
Director of Rugby Pat Lam said: “It’s an absolute honour to continue as Director of Rugby at Bristol Bears. To have the opportunity to work with a great group of people, and to represent our community with pride and love is very special.
“I am grateful to have the continued support of Steve, Jon and Chris and I’m thankful that they have entrusted me to keep leading the Bristol Bears along our journey of Inspiring Our Community Through Rugby Success.
“While we have come a long way in the last four years, I am really excited by what is still to come as we challenge all of us individually and collectively to raise the bar every day.
“I genuinely believe that now we have all our Men, Women and Academy aligned as one club, we are poised to bring a lot of inspiration and success, on and off the field, for many years ahead and I feel very humbled to be a part of it.”
Harlequins squad for 2021/22 campaign
Harlequins’ coaching team have announced the Club’s squad to tackle the 2021/22 campaign
Director of Rugby Performance Billy Millard and Senior Coach Tabai Matson have named a 61-man squad for the season ahead, consisting of 37 senior squad members and 24 Harlequins Academy players.
Second row Stephan Lewies will continue to lead the Club having led the men in the Famous Quarters to a Gallagher Premiership trophy in just his first season as Club Captain last year, with the Springbok lock ready to lead his side as they look to defend their title.
“I’m honoured to be able to continue leading Harlequins alongside a strong senior group,” said Lewies. “This is a special group and a special place. We’ll look to keep serving this team to the best of our ability.
“We know the challenge we face this season. It will be different to those we faced last season. We’re excited by the challenge and looking to continuously grow as a team.
“We are determined to not stand still; to keep improving as the season goes on and peak at the right time.
“We want to stay true to our DNA playing the Quins way with smiles on our faces.”
Eager to kick-off his first competitive game with Quins this weekend, Matson said: “We’re delighted with how the squad has shaped up over the summer. We’ve had two great pre-season games to prep, and the team are so focused on starting the season playing the Harlequins Way this season again.
“There’s a heap of hugely talented individuals here that went all the way last year, but, equally, we’ve had some stellar players and people join us over the off season who will help Quins continue that development.
“What’s really impressed me has been how determined everyone in the group is to continue evolving the rugby this year. Staying true to that Harlequins style but improving on any weaknesses. It’s an exciting playing and coaching group to be a part of and we can’t wait to get started on Sunday.”
David Ofori Manteaw*
Santiago Garcia Botta
Stephan Lewies – Captain
Team news: Bristol Bears vs Saracens – GP R1
Bristol Bears welcome newly promoted Saracens to Ashton Gate Stadium in a mouthwatering Gallagher Premiership opener on Friday (7.45pm KO).
A bumper crowd is expected in BS3 as Pat Lam’s men return to action under the lights in the competition curtain raiser.
Steven Luatua will skipper the side from the back row, while Bears include eight internationals in the starting line-up.
Harry Randall returns from England duty to take his place in the 23-man squad among the replacements.
Bristol Bears team to face Saracens at Ashton Gate Stadium on Friday, September 17th (7.45pm KO):
15. Charles Piutau; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Alapati Leiua, 11. Ioan Lloyd; 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Andy Uren; 1. Jake Woolmore, 2. Harry Thacker, 3. Max Lahiff, 4. Ed Holmes, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steven Luatua (c), 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Nathan Hughes.
System players: 16. Will Capon, 17. Yann Thomas, 18. Jake Armstrong, 19. Dave Attwood, 20. Jake Heenan, 21. Harry Randall, 22. Sam Bedlow, 23. Niyi Adeolokun.
Unavailable: Bryan Byrne, John Afoa, Kyle Sinckler, Joe Joyce, Tom Whiteley, Tiff Eden, Semi Radradra, Henry Purdy, Siva Naulago.
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