Ex-Springbok Ashley Johnson joins English third-tier rugby club as player-coach

Ashley Johnson (proper) in motion for Wasps in opposition to Harlequins in an English Premiership match. COURTESY: Pictures/Andrew Boyers

Former South African worldwide Ashley Johnson signed for English third division outfit Birmingham Moseley as a player-coach from Premiership Rugby facet Wasps.

Johnson, one of the crucial standard figures in Wasps’ current historical past, left the membership in June after eight years. He made 198 appearances for the Coventry-based facet and scored 42 tries.

Wasps coach Lee Blackett paid tribute to Johnson, whom he described as “top-of-the-line signings in Wasps historical past”.

“He has turn out to be a fan favorite for a number of causes, whether or not it’s his barnstorming carries, huge acquire line stopping tackles or for being a really humble character. Ash will probably be massively missed each on and off the sector. He has been the last word staff man in every thing he has achieved, and we want him, Chrizaan and the boys all the perfect for the longer term.”

Earlier than becoming a member of Wasps, he spent six years in Bloemfontein plating for the Cheetahs in each the Currie Cup (63 appearances) and Tremendous Rugby (35 appearances). Johnson additionally gained three caps for the Springboks.

The 34-year-old advised the Don’t Give A Ruck podcast that the job got here up as “pure luck” after he and his household determined to remain a bit of bit longer within the West Midlands somewhat than going to South Africa. He mentioned that an opportunity assembly took place with somebody who knew he nonetheless wished to play a bit however was additionally concerned about a training function.

“What I’ve seen and what I do know concerning the membership is it’s an incredible membership. Trying ahead to working with some nice expertise,” Johnson mentioned.

Johnson admitted that lots of people have been shocked at his choice which “felt like two steps again” having performed within the Premiership, however he mentioned that it was an ideal alternative for him and that he was not “too large for the sport”.

“It (teaching) is certainly one thing I’m going to present a crack. I have no idea what the longer term would possibly maintain. I’m going to method teaching the identical as I’m going method my skilled rugby profession; (which) is a really small share of them will make it will definitely,” Johnson mentioned.

Director of Rugby Adam Balding mentioned that he was delighted that the membership was in a position to appeal to somebody with the values of Johnson.

“He’s a really humble man and his presence across the membership will probably be effectively obtained. I stay up for welcoming him and witnessing his expertise each on and off the pitch.”

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