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Wasps confirm interest in Steffon Armitage and Willie Le Roux

Wasps have confirmed their interest in signing Toulon flanker Steffon Armitage and South Africa utility back Willie Le Roux.

Rugby director Dai Young has admitted Wasps have tracked the availability of both stars, but insisted the Aviva Premiership club has yet to make contact with either player.

Five-cap England flanker Armitage has been touted as a replacement for Japan-bound George Smith, while Le Roux could fill the berth vacated by Charles Piutau, who is off to Ulster this summer.

Boss Young admitted Wasps are still in the market for a "world-class" flanker and full-back, and even accepted Armitage and Le Roux fit that criteria - but remained adamant he has not yet contacted either potential target.

"Everyone realises what players are leaving here, so any players in those positions we're always going to be linked with them," said Young.

"The reality is at this moment in time it's pure speculation.

"Have we spoken to Toulon? No we haven't.

"I haven't spoken to him (Le Roux) either, and I do pretty much all the signings.

"We know that, like a lot of players, he's out there, as in coming out of contract, weighing up his options.

"We've put a marker there as in we haven't put in any offers but we would be interested, but a lot of these players pretty much want to see how the die is cast on the international scene before they even think about looking elsewhere.

"There's lot of new international coaches and new environments, so a lot of these players will want to see where they fit in certainly over the June internationals and probably then decide whether to stay where they are or look elsewhere.

"But the problem is, it's a difficult market, because agents have a job to do."

Armitage continues to eye a move back to the Premiership in a bid to reignite his Test career, stagnant since his 2011 switch to Toulon owing to England's refusal to select overseas-based stars.

The 30-year-old is on Wasps' radar now, along with 26-year-old Springbok back Le Roux, who is weighing up a move to Europe.

Wasps have already secured Australia star Kurtley Beale's services for next term, with Young branding the 27-year-old's four to six-month patella tendon knee injury "not catastrophic".

The departing Smith and Charles Piutau have lit up the Premiership this term, but Young remains adamant he will only consider direct replacements of similar world renown.

"It's flattering that we are linked with these types of players," said Young.

"Nobody's going to turn their back on world-class players, but we've got a decent squad, and the important thing for me is not only recruitment but also retention.

"There's no point bringing one or two players in and losing five or six.

"We've got to have continuity within our squad. Our marquee players have got to be people to add that little bit of stardust.

"But you look at Kurtley Beale, he can play 12, 15, 10, wing, so I'm comfortable really that I could keep everyone happy with a rotation policy and still use his ability as well.

"We have certainly got world-class players in Charles and George, so replacing them is difficult.

"If we could replace them with like for like we would but we're not just looking to bring in numbers, because I'm confident with the squad we've got.

"So if that means not getting somebody this year and someone comes up next year, so be it.

"If someone's available, we'll look at it."


From Belfast Telegraph