English third-division club Birmingham Moseley have confirmed the signing of former Springbok and Cheetahs player Ashley Johnson.
The former Bok loose forward, who earned three Test caps, played for Wasps since 2012 but confirmed last month he will exit the English club after eight seasons and 198 matches across all competitions.
Johnson also confirmed he had received an offer from Jake White to join the Vodacom Bulls, but decided it wasn’t the right time for his family to leave England.
On Thursday, Birmingham Moseley announced that Johnson will be joining the club as a player-coach. The deal to get Johnson on board was reportedly struck courtesy of Birmingham Moseley’s ‘close relationship’ with Johnson’s former employers, Wasps.
‘We are delighted that he has decided to stay in the Midlands and be influential in helping our club achieve its ambitious plans for the future,’ Birmingham said in a statement.
‘Ashley is a real talisman and had a tremendous following at Wasps where he became a favourite of the fans and is being described by Wasps management as “one of best signings in their history”.’
Birmingham Moseley are raising funds through GoFundMe under the banner ‘I built the team’ and with generous contributions from supporters were able to bring Johnson to the club.
‘I am delighted that the club have been able to attract someone with the values of Ashley Johnson, he will fit in well with the ethos of the club. He is a very humble guy and his presence around the club will be well received. I look forward to welcoming him and witnessing his skills both on and off the pitch,’ director of rugby Adam Balding said.
Commenting on his surprise move, Johnson said: ‘I’m really looking forward to start my coaching career at such a historic club. And to be able to still play while getting the opportunity to learn from Adam [Balding] and Glacks [Pete Glackin] was the perfect fit for me.’
Photo: Action Images/John Clifton