Wasps in ‘advanced talks’ to build training base
PROPOSAL BY RUGBY CLUB TO USE FACILITIES AT OLD LEAMINGTONIANS RFC
build WASPS a permanent are in ‘advanced training discussions’ base. to It has been revealed that the Gallagher Premiership club has submitted a proposal to Old Leamingtonians RFC, who will now decide if they wish to welcome the two-time European champions onto its spacious Bericote Road site. If successful, it could bring an end to Wasps’ ‘temporary’ training ground base solution at the home of Broadstreet RFC in Binley Woods. Where Wasps hoped to build their permanent base has been up in the air since plans to build a £7million facility at the Alan Higgs Centre were scrapped, following protests from Coventry City Football Club. Director of rugby Dai Young told Coventry Live in April that a solution to the training ground issue ‘can’t come soon enough’ following a period of bad weather that disrupted the club’s midweek preparations. In requesting an update from Wasps and the following quote was provided by chief executive of Wasps Group, Nick Eastwood. He said: “We can confirm we are in advanced discussions with Old Leamingtonians RFC for Wasps to build a permanent training base at The Crofts on Bericote Road. “Old Leamingtonians are currently consulting with their members about the details of the proposal, which will only progress subject to their approval. “We are continuing to work closely with Old Leamingtonians and the relevant third parties and stakeholders throughout the process.” Included in the statement was confirmation that Old Leamingtonians has received the proposal from the Premiership giants.
Chairman Phil Eales said: “We have received a proposal from Wasps for the club to have its training base at The Crofts, without Old Leams losing any of its existing facilities.
“The management committee has met and agreed to send the proposal to the membership to be considered at an EGM later in the month.”
Many different sites have been rumoured to be options for Wasps’ permanent training base, with the most concrete being on the same site as Coventry City’s Academy at the Alan Higgs Centre.
Planning permission was gained for Wasps to create a £7million facility off Allard Way despite protests from the football club – which was facing having no home for its successful Academy. However, the exciting plans did not come to fruition.
Back in November 2017, Wasps chief executive Nick Eastwood said: “Unfortunately it has not proved possible to coordinate our own plans with the time frame needed for the construction of the pool and related complex, and we do not want to hold up the wider development in any way.
“A number of separate sites have been identified as providing viable options for our training ground needs, including what is currently our preferred site.
“Those avenues are being actively pursued and are in an advanced stage of discussion.”
Issues relating to the prolonged search for a permanent training ground base for Wasps when director of rugby Dai Young told CoventryLive the situation is ‘not ideal’ adding: “It can’t come soon enough and I think they’re working their socks off on it.”
Weeks after the article, the Daily Mail reported a possible mutiny at Wasps with senior players wishing to leave at their end of the contracts over ‘inadequate training
Old Leamingtonians are currently consulting with their members about the details of the proposal. Nick Eastwood
facilities’ with one unnamed player quoted as saying: “It’s like eating in a pub every day we are training.” Wasps responded to the article with a statement where Dai Young refuted claims of a mutiny, highlighting ten senior squad members had recently signed new contracts, including Joe Launchbury, Elliot Daly and Dan Robson. Young said: “The construction of new training facilities is taking longer than originally hoped. We had a couple of projects which reached a pretty advanced stage but unfortunately did come not to fruition along the way, but no-one doubts this is the number one priority project for our development team. “I know a further location is now under serious consideration and that this project could take a big step forward in the very near future. Old Leamingtonians first team play in Level 8 of English rugby, having lost one and won one of their opening Midlands 3 West South games. They narrowly missed on promotion last season after losing a decisive game against Old Coventrians in April. The club boasts a strong mini, junior and Colts set up, with their under-18s the current holders of the Bob Coward Colts Cup after defeating Stratford 33-0 in the final. Old Leams are based at The Crofts off Bericote Road, off the A452 and is in close proximity to the town’s other rugby club, Leamington RFC, who play Level 7 rugby. The Crofts has been Old Leams’ home since 1956, after club purchased five acres from the YMCA at Cloister Crofts for £1,500.
The first team pitch and clubhouse at The Crofts, home of Old Leamingtonians RFC
Wasps currently have a temporary training ground base at the home of Broadstreet RFC in Binley Woods