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Page last updated at 11:42 GMT, Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Wycombe chief takes over at Wasps

Lawrence Dallaglio
Dallaglio will work in player recruitment on the Wasps board

Wycombe Wanderers managing director Steve Hayes has taken ownership of Wasps rugby club, with former skipper Lawrence Dallaglio joining the board.

Hayes has also found roles for former player Mark Rigby, advisor Mike Brooks, and board members John O'Connell, Ivor Montlake and Tony Copsey.

Former chairman Chris Wright will take on a role as life president.

Club stalwart and World Cup winner Dallaglio's role will primarily be in player recruitment and talent spotting.

Dallaglio spent his entire career at Wasps, before retiring after the club's 26-16 Premiership play-off final win against Leicester at Twickenham in May.

And the 36-year-old is confident that Hayes will be a strong presence at the club.

"I have known Steve for 10 years and, as a dynamic businessman with strong values and beliefs, know that he is a man who leads from the front," said Dallaglio, who won 85 caps for England.

"I hope I can provide a valuable service and perform a positive role for the club I played with for nearly two decades, helping to build on the success we have already enjoyed."

Hayes' personal involvement with Wasps began in August 2007 when he purchased an 11.6% stake in the club, while the link between the rugby club and Wycombe has grown since the Guinness Premiership outfit moved to Adams Park six years ago.

Danny Cipriani has been at the club since 2004
I would like to stay at Wasps and have my future here

Wasps fly-half Danny Cipriani
The stadium has a maximum capacity of 10,000, of which the rugby club averages no more than 8,700, with 5,000 of those season ticket holders.

Attempts to rebuild the ground have been hampered by access difficulties which restrict the level of redevelopment possible and Hayes, the co-founder of the business, has already prioritised the development of a new venue for both clubs.

"Having forged an excellent partnership with Wycombe District Council, we continue to make positive steps towards our goal of developing a new and improved stadium facility," he said.

"For now and the foreseeable future, we are committed to our current home but positive steps have been made to make our plans of development a realisation."

Wasps won four Premiership titles and two Heineken Cups under the stewardship of Wright, and despite a disappointing start to the Premiership season with just two wins from eight, Hayes is determined to continue the club's growth.

"Wasps are undeniably one of the most successful clubs in Europe on the pitch and, as we look to the future, I have a very clear vision which will incorporate and align all facets of the club to this level of success," he added.

"We are determined to stay at the forefront of European rugby, and whether coaches, players, board members or staff we all have a major role in supporting this vision."

One of the first issues for Hayes to resolve is the matter of new contracts for highly sought-after players like Danny Cipriani and James Haskell, whose deals expire at the end of the season.

Dr Webb
England fly-half Cipriani said he hoped the developments would help the club hold onto its best talent, despite the lure of lucrative offers from other clubs in Europe.

"I would like to stay at Wasps and have my future here. I've just got to know about the players who are going to stay around as well," said Cipriani.

"I think Steve is going to try and get all the contracts done as a whole team. Everyone has got that bit of uncertainty above their heads so its good that everyone knows where they are going.

"Wasps is such a great club. Ideally, I would like to stay at Wasps and get the whole structure in place and get everything right."

The move has met the approval of director of rugby Ian McGeechan, who came to the club in 2005.

"In order to compete in the long-term we must look to moving forward yet again and I am sure in Steve we have the right man to lead us into the future," he said.

"The appointment of Lawrence and Mark to the board shows there is a strong understanding of the rugby business as part of the new structure.

"Both men bring an understanding and passion for Wasps with them to their new roles, who have both always shown themselves to be strong and effective forward thinkers.

"I am looking forward to being a part of what should be an exciting future at the club."

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see also
Newcastle 17-23 Wasps
28 Nov 08 |  English
Wycombe chief joins Wasps board
24 Aug 07 |  London Wasps

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