- London Wasps
teamname = London Wasps
fullname = London Wasps Holdings Ltd
nickname = Wycombe Wasps
High Wycombe, England
founded = 1867 as
Wasps FCcite web | url=http://www.wasps.co.uk/History1.ink | title=History 1867-1930 London Wasps | publisher=Wasps.co.uk | accessdate=2007-04-07]
capacity = 10,000
rugby director = flagicon|Scotland
coach = flagicon|England
captain = flagicon|France
season = 2007-08
position = Champions (2nd)
url = www.wasps.co.uk
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London Wasps is an English professional
rugby unionteam. The men's first team, which forms London Wasps, was derived from Wasps Football Club who were formed in 1867 at the now defunct Eton and Middlesex Tavern in North London, at the turn of professionalism in 1999. London Wasps play at Adams Park, which is located in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.
London Wasps have won at least one of each of the major European competitions or knock-out tournaments in the past decade. The team compete in the English club competition, the
Guinness Premiership, the Anglo-Welsh competition the EDF Energy Cupand the European knock-out competition, the Heineken Cup.
Hampstead Football Club was founded in 1866, there was a split in the membership of the which resulted in the formation of two different clubs;
Harlequin F.C.and Wasps. Wasps Football Club was itself formed in 1867 as the now defunct Eton and Middlesex Tavern in North London. The club gained its name because of a fashion of the Victorian period for clubs to adopt the names of insects, birds and animals. In December 1870, Edwin Ash, Secretary of Richmond Football Club published a letter in the papers which said, "Those who play the rugby-type game should meet to form a code of practice as various clubs play to rules which differ from others, which makes the game difficult to play." Wasps are interestingly founder members of the FA along with several other rugby clubs such as Blackheath R.C., despite never really playing the proper code of association football.
As a reasonably well-established club, the Wasps were eligible to be founder members of the
Rugby Football Union(RFU). On January 26, 1871 the meeting was scheduled to take place. However a mix-up led to them sending their representative to the wrong venue at the wrong time on the wrong day. Another version of the story was that he went to a pub of the same name and after consuming a number of drinks was too drunk to make it to the correct address after he realized his mistake. Wasps were, therefore, not present at the inauguration ceremony and forfeited their right to be called foundation members.
Wasps' first home was in
Finchley Road, North London although subsequent years saw grounds being rented in various parts of London. In 1923 the Wasps moved to a permanent home at Sudbury, Middlesex, eventually buying the ground outright. The side had somewhat of a renaissance during the 1930s, particularly the earlier part of the decade, where they were seen as one of the better English clubs, going unbeaten in the 1930/31 English seasoncite web | url=http://www.wasps.co.uk/History2.ink | title=The 1930s - London Wasps | publisher=Wasps.co.uk | accessdate=2008-04-13] . The 1930s also saw the emergence of Neville Compton, who captained the side between 1939 and 1947 and went on to become fixture secretary in 1959 and eventually became the club president in the early 1970s before retiring in 1988.
Wasps went on to host Welsh internationals Vivian Jenkins and
Harry Bowcott, in addition to this national representation, numerous Wasps came to play for the England national side, such as Ted Woodward, Bob Stirling, Richard Sharpand Don Rutherford. In 1967, the Wasps club celebrated their centenary. Celebrations took the form of two matches that were held at the Rugby schoolgrounds, where William Webb Ellisis thought to have originated the rugby union game. One match was played against the Barbarian F.C., the other, against another London rugby union club, the Harlequins.
The 1980s saw what was, at that point, an all time high representation of Wasps players in the England national sideFact|London Wasps|date=March 2007. In 1986, Wasps Football Club made their first appearance at the final of the
John Player Cupknock-out competition, which originated in 1972. Wasps were defeated by Bath in a close game, where Bath emerged as winners, 25 points to 17. The following year Wasps continued their success in the knock-out competition and they again met Bath in the final. They were however again defeated by Bath in a close game, Bath winning 19 points to 12. Wasp Rob Andrewcaptained England against Romania in 1989. In 1990, Andrew captained Wasps to their first Courage League title, as they narrowly pipped Orrell to be English champions.
In 1995 Wasps lost 16–36 to Bath in the final of the
Pilkington Cup. It was their first appearance in the final since 1987 and 1986, when their opponents — and the eventual winners — on both occasions were also Bath.
After winning the title, Wasps regularly finished in the top three of the Courage league title, although they were never quite good enough to overcome Bath, the pre-eminent club of the time. Then in 1995-6, with many pundits predicting Wasps could make a run for the title, Rob Andrew took up a lucrative deal to become Player Manager of Newcastle Falcons. He recruited several other leading Wasps, including, most notably, Club Captain Dean Ryan. For a few weeks Wasps looked like becoming the first casualty of the professional era as the backbone of their team had left. But under newly appointed Captain Lawrence Dallaglio, the club steadied the ship, and managed to finish fourth, and secure a place in the following season's Heineken Cup, which English teams were entering for the first time.
The following season, 1996-7, Wasps won their second league championship, and became the first English Champions of the professional era. It was an equally momentous season off the field. The club split into two parts, with the professional side becoming part of Loftus Road Holdings PLC, who also owned
Queens Park Rangers F.C.. One element of the deal saw Wasps move from their traditional Sudbury home to share QPR's Loftus Roadstadium.
In 1998, the now-professional Wasps again reached the final of what was now the
Tetley's Bitter Cup, but lost 18–48 to a star-studded Saracens side. The following year, Wasps again reached the final, in which they defeated Newcastle Falcons29–19, to claim their first title in the competition. In 2000, Wasps reached the final for the third consecutive year, successfully defending their title in a 31–23 victory over Northampton Saints.
In the summer of 1999, the professional team — which had been operating as Wasps RFC (professional) since the 1996–97 season — was renamed as London Wasps, to differentiate it from
Wasps FC, the amateur side of the club. At the same they adopted a new logo, which was selected as being in keeping with the club's history. Fact|London Wasps|date=March 2007
In 2001 ex-Wigan rugby league star
Shaun Edwardsjoined as a coach. He has largely been credited with creating Wasps' famous Blitz Defencethat stops teams and is the basis for Wasps' own scoring chances. London Wasps agreed to move out of Queens Park Rangers' Loftus Road stadiumto allow Fulham F.C. to rent for 2 seasons between 2002 and 2004, while their ground, Craven Cottage, was redeveloped. They became tenants to Wycombe Wanderersat Adams Parkat the end of the 2001/02 season. The success of Wasps at their new ground meant they didn't return to Loftus Road after Fulham left.
In the 2002/03 European Challenge Cup, Wasps made their way to the final, where they met Bath. Though Bath beat them in numerous finals in the 1990s, the Wasps emerged as champions, beating Bath 48 to 30 at
Madejski Stadium. Wasps end of season run to glory also included timely wins that saw them defeat the Northampton Saints, in the Premiership semi final, after finishing 2nd in the league table. This saw them face Gloucester in the final at Twickenham. Wasps superior fitness saw them waltz past the cherry and whites and win their first English title since 1997, by 39 points to 3.
Wasps finished top of their pool in the
2003-04 Heineken Cup, where they went on to soundly defeat Gloucester at the quarter-finals and won a final berth after overcoming Munster 37 points to 32 in the semi-finals. The semi-final, held at Lansdowne Road, has gone down as one of the all-time classic matches, for its incredible intensity, beating that of most international games. They met Toulouse in the final at Twickenham, where they became champions, defeating the French side, 27 points to 20, and in winning their first Heineken Cupproduced another classic match. Wasps followed up the win the following week, again at Twickenham, by beating Bath to retain the title of England's champion side, and complete a double.
In December 2004 the RFU revealed that the team was to be disqualified from the Powergen Cup for fielding an ineligible player, hooker Jonny Barrett, in a sixth-round game versus Bristol.cite web | url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/english/4121055.stm | title=Wasps thrown out of Powergen Cup | publisher=BBC | accessdate=2007-04-07] Wasps went through the season well, after the cup glitch, and retained the English title for a second time, by beating Leicester Tigers in the final at Twickenham. Edwards, however, was not a totally happy man as Wasps conceded their first try of the three Premiership finals in the dying minutes.
Warren Gatlandsigned off at Wasps with a rare smile to continue his coaching with Waikato in New Zealand. Ian McGeechanbecame the new Director of Rugby at Wasps from the 2005/06 season, taking over from Gatland. London Wasps won the Powergen Anglo-Welsh Cup in the 2005-06 season, beating Llanelli Scarletsin the final at Twickenham. Before the 2006/07 season began, London Wasps won the Middlesex 7's in Twickenham, beating Leicester Tigersin the final. Josh Lewseyscored 11 tries in the process.
In the 2007
Six Nations Championship, England vs. Wales game at the Millennium Stadiumin Cardiff, Wasps supplied the entire back row of the scrum, James Haskell, Joe Worsleyand Tom Rees all made an appearance.cite web | url=http://www.wasps.co.uk/newspage.ink?nid=27964&newstype=N | title=Backrow | publisher=Wasps.co.uk | accessdate=2007-04-07] This was the first time that any club supplied the entire back row. Unfortunately for England, Wales won the encounter 27 to 18.cite web | url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/6454287.stm | title=Wales 27-18 England | publisher=BBC | accessdate=2007-04-07]
Leicester were the favourites, as they had already won the Anglo-Welsh cup and the Guinness Premiership, the latter just the week before. It was also expected that this match would break records for the biggest crowd for a club rugby match in the world. This later turned out to be false since the record for a club rugby match was 102,569 in the 1954 Rugby League Challenge Cup Final replay at Odsal. Also to be noted the 81,076 crowd which attended the 2006-07 Heineken Cup final has subsequently been beaten on 32 occasions in the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final.Wasps went ahead early, and while Leicester kept in the match, Wasps defense was on top form and Leicester didn't even score a penalty in the second half. Wasps won 25-9, thanks to penalties by
Alex Kingand tries by Raphael Ibanezand Eoin Reddanto become 2007 champions.
During the 2007/2008 season, Wasps went from 10th in the league during October, to beat Leicester in the Guinness Premiership Final. This sealed a dream send-off for the retiring
Lawrence Dallaglioat Twickenham. Wasps won 26-16 thanks to penalties by Mark van Gisbergenand tries by Josh Lewseyand Tom Reesto become the English 2008 champions. Wasps have now won six league titles in all, equal with Bath and just one behind Leicester.
Wasp's first home was in
Finchley Road, North London although subsequent years saw grounds being rented in various parts of London. In 1923 Wasps moved to a permanent home at Sudbury, Middlesex, eventually buying the ground outright. Fact|London Wasps|date=March 2007 Although the team currently play home matches at Adams Park, High Wycombein Buckinghamshire, and the ground at Sudbury has been developed for housing, the club house still stands (currently being used as a Hindu Community Centre) and is still considered by many as the club's spiritual home.
Wasps previously played their home games at
Loftus Roadin West London. They however made the move to High Wycombe in 2002. The crowds figure went up by 31.8% the next season.cite web | url=http://www.sportnetwork.net/main/s97/st52401.htm | title=Stadium | publisher=Sportnetwork | accessdate=2007-04-07] In recent years, Wasps have played their season opener in the London Double Headerat Twickenham, in 2006 this drew a crowd of 51,950, breaking the record set in 2004.cite web | url=http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20060904/ai_n16708321 | title=Rugby Union: Few thrills but tills keep ringing at double-header | publisher=Find Articles | accessdate=2007-04-07] From the start of the 2003/4 season to the end of the 2005/6 season the stadium was sponsored by Causeway Technologies and known as the Causeway Stadium.
For the 2007/08 season it was announced [cite web | url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/my_club/london_wasps/6998798.stm | title=Wasps move Cup opener to Coventry | publisher=BBC Sport | accessdate=2007-09-17] that Wasps will begin their defense of the Heineken Cup in
Coventry, playing their "home" tie against Munster at fc|Coventry City's Ricoh Arena. While commercially the move was seen as a success [cite web | url=http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/sport/localsport/display.var.1825655.0.copsey_coventry_move_vindicated.php | title=Copsey: Coventry move vindicated | publisher=Bucks Free Press | accessdate=2007-11-12] with Wasps winning the game 24-23 in front of a crowd of 21,506 [cite web | url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/rugby/article2852776.ece | title=Wasps hold off fierce challenge after Riki Flutey finds the right notes | publisher=The Times | accessdate=2007-11-12] , the move attracted criticism from some of the club's supporters. It could be argued they had little choice in moving the match away from Adams Park, with Wycombe Wanderers playing an FA Cuptie the same day.
It was announced in 2007 that a joint venture between Wasps, Wycombe Wanderers and Wycombe District Council would fund a new stadium in the High Wycombe area. The loose plans are that it would be 16-17,000 capacity, with a terraced section (it would be the first new football ground in England with terraced section since the
Taylor Report). The development would also included retail, hotel, conference and other facilities. Wasps and Wanderers funding would primarily be from Steve Hayes, who has been increasing his share holding in Wasps in the 2nd half of 2007, also taking over the Chairman duties from Chris Wright.
rugby squad player | nat=FRA | pos=HK | name=
Current England Elite Squad
Current England Saxons Squad
Other internationally capped players
Mark van Gisbergen
* Mark Robinson
*English Champions titles: 6
**1989/90*, 1996/97**, 2002/03, 2003/04, 2004/05, 2007/08
**1987/88*, 1990/91*, 1992/93*
*RFU Tetley's Bitter Cup & Powergen Cup / Powergen Anglo Welsh Cup titles: 3
**1998/99**, 1999/2000, 2005/06
**1985/86*, 1986/87*, 1994/95*, 1997/98**
Heineken Cuptitles: 2
*Parker Pen Challenge Cup titles: 1
Middlesex 7sTournament titles: 5
**1948*, 1952*, 1985*, 1993*, 2006
**1933*, 1951*, 1996*, 2005
Guinness A Leaguetitles: 2
* (* As
* (** As Wasps RFC)
Head Coach/Director of Rugby
* [http://www.wasps.co.uk/ Official site]
* [http://www.waspspics.co.uk/ Official Picture Site]
* [http://www.waspies.net Waspies fansite]
* [http://www.drunkenwasps.com Drunken Wasps fansite]
* [http://www.maclean-walker.com Alex Walker's London Wasps fansite]
* [http://www.rugby15.co.uk/wasps.html London Wasps on Rugby15]
* [http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=high+wycombe&layer=&ie=UTF8&z=19&ll=51.63053,-0.800194&spn=0.000921,0.003044&t=h&om=1 London Wasps] (
Adams Park) at Google Maps
* [http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=Twyford+Ave,+Ealing,+London+W3,+United+Kingdom&layer=&ie=UTF8&sll=51.630592,-0.828953&sspn=0.108047,0.233459&om=1&z=17&ll=51.511494,-0.2794&spn=0.003385,0.010815&t=h London Wasps] Training ground (Twyford Avenue) at Google Maps
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