Wasps have announced that impressive number eight Nathan Hughes has extended his contract with the club.
Hughes joined Wasps from Auckland ahead of the 2013/14 season. After a quiet first campaign due to a knee injury, Hughes burst onto the Premiership scene in spectacular fashion last season, being named Green Flag Forward of the Year at the Premiership Awards, after topping many of the stats charts and scoring 10 tries in 28 appearances.
This season, Hughes has gone from strength-to-strength, winning November’s Aviva Player of the Month, with standout performances putting him in contention for international recognition.
Hughes said: “I’m really excited to have signed a new contract with Wasps as I can see the direction the club is going in. I really appreciate Dai giving me the opportunity to come here and over the past two years it has been a great club to be part of. We have secured our own home and have seen some really exciting players joining Wasps and I really want to be part of the club moving forwards.
“We know success won’t happen overnight and there is a lot of work to do, but longterm we really want to be a squad winning silverware – that has to be the ambition.
“In my first year we finished 7th and reached the European play-off against Stade Français, last season we finished 6th and reached the quarter final, so we really want to continue that progress. We know we need to improve our league form and get consistency in our game, so that will be our focus during the second part of the season.”
Hughes added: “It has been an exciting back row unit to be part of. We have young guys pushing through like Thomas Young, Sam Jones, Guy Thompson, Alex Rieder and me, and then two experienced internationals. They bring so many things to the game and I’m just trying to learn all I can from them, particularly in defence and at the breakdown.”
Dai Young said: “We are thrilled Nathan has committed his future to Wasps. As you can imagine, it was a no brainer offering him a new contract and I’m sure a number of other clubs would have been tracking his progress closely.
“Nathan has made a huge impact since joining Wasps and the great thing is there is so much more to come from him. He is only 24 and is still raw in some aspects of the game, having only made the switch from hockey to rugby at 17.
“He has worked really hard on his defence and his work around the pitch this season, to add to his natural ball carrying ability and attacking attributes which are so influential in helping us get on the front foot. Given his growing performances this season, it’s no surprise many are talking about him as an international prospect for England when he qualifies over the summer.
“We’re fortunate to have strength in depth to our back row options. There’s plenty of talent in that area, with young guys coming through. For them to be able to learn from someone like George Smith, as well as from James Haskell, is hugely beneficial in their development, so we should be in a good place moving forwards.”