Wasps in ‘ad­vanced talks’ to build train­ing base

PRO­POSAL BY RUGBY CLUB TO USE FA­CIL­I­TIES AT OLD LEAMINGTONIANS RFC

Coventry Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By BOBBY BRIDGE Rugby Re­porter robert.bridge@reach­plc.com

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

Nick East­wood

Wasps cur­rently have a tem­po­rary train­ing ground base at the home of Broad­street RFC in Bin­ley Woods

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