- Former Springbok foward Ashley Johnson has been hailed as one of English club Wasps' greatest signings in its history ahead of his departure.
- The 34-year-old hooker and flanker spent eight seasons at the club and enjoyed substantial success.
- While he has been linked with a return to Loftus, it's understood England's RFU is keen to rope him in as a coach.
Ashley Johnson's legacy in South African rugby might still be uncertain, but there's no doubt he's considered a club legend in England.
The versatile 34-year-old forward, adept at playing both hooker and flank, has been bestowed the honour as "one of the best signings in Wasps' history", the home he leaves after eight fruitful campaigns.
Johnson, a cult hero for the Cheetahs with his mop of hair and a three-cap Springbok, joined the club in mid-2012 and went on to make 198 appearances.
He also scored 42 tries.
"Ashley has become a fan favourite for several reasons, whether it’s his barnstorming carries, massive gainline-stopping tackles or for being a very humble character," Lee Blackett, Wasps' head coach, told the club's official website.
"He will be massively missed both on and off the field. He has been the ultimate team man in everything he has done, and we wish him, Chrizaan and the boys all the very best for the future."
Johnson's age began to count against him during the currently suspended English Premiership campaign as he struggled for game-time following the emergence of promising youngsters Alfie Barbeary and Tom Willis.
But he's nonetheless very grateful for all the memories.
"To the coaches, players, amazing staff and most of all the supporters, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to be part of such a historic club," said Johnson."I have played alongside some incredibly talented players in my time at Wasps, and more importantly I’ve made some lifelong friends."
As reported by Sport24 earlier, Johnson has been linked with a return to South Africa to help spearhead Jake White's Bulls project, but is instead understood to be earmarked for a coaching role at England's RFU.
- Compiled by Sport24 staff
After 8 fantastic years, Ashley Johnson will be leaving the club. Thank you Ash…#OnceAWasp #AlwaysAWasphttps://t.co/d3ufQAqYGQ— Wasps Rugby (@WaspsRugby) June 10, 2020