Ashley Johnson among three players to leave Wasps

Ashley Johnson has played 198 times for Wasps
Ashley Johnson has played 198 times for Wasps

Wasps have confirmed that three players including forward Ashley Johnson and fly-half Billy Searle have made an exit from the club

South Africa born Johnson joined Wasps from Cheetahs in 2012 and has 198 appearances for the club scoring 42 tries. He has also played three Tests for South Africa that came during the Rugby Championship tournament in 2011 before heading to Ricoh Arena.

“It was a privilege and honour to put on the Black and Gold and I will look back on it with fond memories. Relocating to Coventry and playing at the Ricoh is certainly one of the highlights of my career at Wasps, and I want to thank Derek for making that possible and securing the future of the club," he told in a statement released by the club.

"Lastly, I want to wish Joe and the squad all the best for the coming years. I'm so excited to see these youngsters making their mark in the Premiership, I will certainly be your biggest supporter. All the best, Ashley.”

Lock Charlie Matthews will also be leaving the club after joining them in 2018 following a nine-season stint with Harlequins making 163 appearances for The Stoop based outfit. He has played 28 times for Wasps including 15 Premiership games but now will feature for Japan based Kamaishi Seawaves.

“After 8 enjoyable years in the Premiership I have decided that the time is right for my young family and I to take up an exciting opportunity to play in Japan, for Kamaishi Seawaves," he told.

It has been a pleasure working with such a great group of players and staff over the last two years and I have no doubt that they will be very successful in the coming seasons.”

Meanwhile, Searle's exit from the club was already announced in January as he had signed a deal with rivals Worcester Warriors. Joining Wasps in 2018, he made 21 appearances scoring 98 points after a leg injury put him on the sidelines for most part of the 2018/19 season.

"Billy has been massively popular with all staff and players at Wasps," said Wasps head coach Lee Blackett.

"Billy was in outstanding form last season before he picked up a horrific injury. A lot of credit has to go to him for coming back the way he did this season. We wish Billy all the best at Worcester, I know he will be a big success and we look forward to seeing him back at the Ricoh".

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