>> Launch­bury stays at Wasps

The Rugby Paper - - Front Page -

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

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