>> Launchbury stays at Wasps
WASPS have won their tug of war with Sale Sharks to keep England second row Joe Launchbury at the Ricoh Arena. The 26-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and was the subject of interest from a number of Premiership clubs. Blindside understands that the Sharks were willing to pay Launchbury around £500,000 a year for the next five years to move North next summer. But we can reveal that he is staying at Wasps and has re-signed with last season’s Premiership finalists on a long term deal. The news will be a massive boost for Wasps who have a number of high profile players out of contract this summer.
Launchbury joins Elliott Daly in putting pen to paper, but one player that Wasps could be struggling to hang onto is Brendan Macken, their 26-year-old Dublinborn centre.
Macken, below, who started his career at Leinster and then had a loan spell at Gloucester before arriving at Wasps in 2015, is attracting serious interest from Championship leaders Bristol.
Pat Lam is keen on adding Macken to his squad ahead of a return to the Premiership next season. Macken, who has won Ireland U20 and Emerging Ireland honours, is rated highly by Lam and showed his class with two tries in Wasps’ Anglo-Welsh Cup win over Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium on Friday night.
Macken, who is England qualified from February, is out of contract at the end of the season and is yet to agree a new deal to stay at Wasps which is opening the door for Lam.
And unlike clubs in the Premiership, Bristol don't have to wait until the turn of the year to open talks with their transfer targets.
Staying at Wasps: Joe Launchbury