Super Rugby

Bulls target Ashley Johnson earmarked for RFU coaching job

Former Springbok loose-forward Ashley Johnson declined an approach from the Bulls and chose instead to remain at English club London Wasps, where he’s been based since leaving the Cheetahs in 2012.

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Johnson, who narrowly missed out on a place in the 2011 Springbok World Cup squad, was one of the first players reported to be on new Bulls director of rugby Jake White’s most wanted list. However, Johnson declined the opportunity because it would cause too much disruption to his family to move back to South Africa.

His only three Test matches came under Peter de Villiers in the 2011 Tri-Nations but he was not considered for the squad to go to New Zealand that year despite being one of the in-form forwards at the time.

The 33-year-old has a year left on his contract with Wasps but has also been earmarked for coaching a job with the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) once he calls time on his playing career. It is unclear at this stage what the specifics of the role might be.

White has been looking to beef up the experience in the Bulls ranks since joining the Pretoria franchise in March.

Fullback Gio Aplon, 37, was on Wednesday confirmed to have signed with the franchise, joining prop Marcel van der Merwe, 29, who is returning to Loftus after four years at French club Toulon.

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