Bulldozing Ashley Johnson calls time on his Wasps career
CAPE TOWN – Cape Town-born Ashley Johnson’s eight-year English rugby sojourn has come to an end, Wasps Rugby announced on Wednesday.
Johnson made his name at the Cheetahs in 2006 and played both Currie Cup and Super Rugby in his six years in Bloemfontein, also winning three caps for the Springboks.
He joined Wasps in 2012 and became an instant favourite, with his bulldozing running and powerful tackling.
After making his debut from the bench, in a narrow defeat at Bath, he established himself as a first-team regular, with twenty-four appearances in the starting XV. The 2013/2014 season saw him reach the fifty-match milestone and he also scored nine tries.
Ashley Johnson and his South African teammates at Wasps: Nizaam Carr, Willie le Roux and Juan de Jongh. Photo: Ashley Johnson on facebook
Johnson passed the 150-game mark in the home win over Newcastle, in November 2017. By the time this season was suspended, he was just two games short of the magnificent milestone of 200 appearances and had scored forty-two tries.
A firm fan-favourite of the Wasps faithful, Johnson will forever by immortalised as a Wasp stalwart by a popular wig often seen in the stands that pays tribute to his characteristic hairdo.
Johnson paid tribute to the club, saying: ““I would like to thank everyone at Wasps that was part of my incredible journey during the last 8 years.
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. I have played alongside some incredibly talented players in my time at Wasps, and more importantly I’ve made some lifelong friends.
He had a special word for coach Dai Young, who signed him as a rookie in 2012. “Thank you for believing and taking a chance on me - I will be forever grateful."
"Also, to my wife and three kids, thank you for all the love and continued support, this wouldn't have been possible without you.”