London Wasps can today confirm that interim Director of Rugby Leon Holden and players Ben Jacobs and Serge Betsen will move on at the end of the season.
Both Holden and Jacobs are to move to Japan – Holden to take up a position as head coach with the Ricoh BlackRams based in Tokyo, while Jacobs will continue his playing career for the Kyuden Voltex. Betsen is exploring his options for next season in the sport as he reaches the end of his playing career.
Holden has a long history with Wasps. He rejoined the club in February following the departure of Tony Hanks, but had previously spent four spent four years at the club between 2005 and 2009 in various roles including assistant coach and forwards coach. Ben Jacobs has been a first choice centre since he joined the club two seasons ago, while Serge Betsen has also been a key figure at the club since joining in 2008.
Leon Holden said: “I have enjoyed my time in recent months with Wasps again, despite some tough results, but the opportunity to go to Japan, where I have coached before, for a season was too good to turn down. It will allow me to that bit nearer home and with a young family; it will be a change of lifestyle that I believe we will enjoy. I will continue to help Wasps implement new structures for next seasons as well as contribute to the recruitment drive for next season in my remaining time here. Wasps will always have a place in my heart and I want to thank the fans in particular for welcoming me back this year.”
Ben Jacobs said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my two seasons at Wasps and having been in London for a number of years now, I am ready for a different challenge. I want to take this opportunity to say a big thanks to everyone at the club, the coaches, all the staff and the supporters, for everything they have done for me and I wish the club all the best in the future.”
Serge Betsen added: “It was a big challenge for me and my family to move to England but I have really enjoyed my time at Wasps and I will be sad to leave. However I am excited about the next challenges the sport will bring me. Thanks to all at the club for making a French-man feel so welcome! Wasps is a club with an exciting future and I think with some of the young players coming through there is a lot for them to look forward to.”
London Wasps chief executive Chris Thomas said: “We wish Leon, Serge and Ben well in the next stages of their careers in Japan and beyond. Leon has done a very good job in a very short time frame and has played a key role in recruitment for next season which is ongoing and we are hugely grateful for his input and advice about what shape the squad should take going forward. We are continuing the process of putting in place a Director of Rugby for next season. This is a key appointment for us so we are not going to rush it but we are confident we will have a quality candidate in place for the start of next season.
“It’s always sad to say goodbye to quality players like Serge and Ben but with some young exciting backs and backrow players coming through, we think we are well served in these areas. Our recruitment for next season continues and we think we are putting together a strong squad with a good balance of hardened experience and young talent.”