Wasps confirm the signing of Cardiff Blues head coach
Wasps have today confirmed the signing of current Cardiff Blues head coach Danny Wilson and Nottingham Rugby head coach Ian Costello, both are set to arrive in Coventry during pre-season to complement the coaching talent already in place.
Wilson’s main role will concentrate on the forwards and Costello’s primary focus will be on skills development and exits, whilst also supporting the wider team to help achieve the rugby department’s goals.
The pair will bring additional expertise and depth to Dai Young’s coaching group, which for the last two seasons has been one of the smallest in the Aviva Premiership, comprising Young, Lee Blackett, Phil Blake and Andy Titterrell.
Wilson will arrive with plenty of experience having also impressed in coaching roles at Bristol, Scarlets, the Dragons and Wales under 20’s, before going on to take charge of Cardiff Blues in 2015.
Costello is currently in his second season as head coach of Nottingham Rugby. During his tenure, Nottingham’s young side have climbed from a ninth-place finish last season to the top four in the current Championship standings.
Prior to taking that role, the former centre worked with Munster Academy & 20s until 2011, and then spent the next five years coaching Munster’s senior team, initially as skills coach and then as assistant coach for the final two years.
Wasps’ director of rugby Dai Young is pleased with these additional backroom appointments, which he believes will help to keep the club moving forward.
“We have operated with a smaller coaching team than most clubs for a while now,” Young says.
“The plan was always to bolster it, as we already have our S&C team, but I have taken my time to make sure I bring in the right people who really add to what we’re doing and complement the quality we already have within our coaching department.
“I couldn’t find the right fit last season, but I’m pleased to have found people that I believe can really benefit the whole team next season.
“While it’s important not to be overloaded with coaches because too many voices can cause confusion for players, I recognise if we continue trying to compete at the top with only three coaches on board, we will come unstuck. I have a clear vision of how I want us to play the game, and the current coaching group and the two new coaches will continue to support and help me deliver that.
“While I have only worked with Danny for a limited time when he was part of the Academy set-up at Cardiff Blues, I know he has gone on to forge a very strong reputation as a quality coach who is highly regarded within the game, having made a big impact with the teams he’s worked with.
“Equally with Ian, everyone I know who worked with him at Munster, and also as part of our loan arrangement with Nottingham Rugby, can’t speak highly enough of his rugby knowledge and attention to detail.
“Our existing coaches have done an excellent job and I’m really pleased with how quickly our young coaches, Lee [Blackett] and Andy [Titterrell] are developing in their first Premiership coaching roles. They are already very talented coaches who have achieved a significant amount with us, and I have no doubt they will only get better and better with each passing season as they build experience.
“Lee, Andy and Phil all played a big role in helping the squad top the league last season and reach the Premiership Final for first time in nine years.
“With the professional game as it is now with previews, post-match reviews, player development and performance to consider, we are too thinly spread and there’s simply too much for three coaches to continue doing on a long-term basis.
“Games are won by very small margins and I need to make sure our attention to detail is second to none. I feel these appointments will really help us, and will put the players in the best possible position to move their games onto the next level. We look forward to welcoming Danny and Ian to the club next season.”
Speaking about his appointment as forwards coach at Wasps’ next season, Danny Wilson said:
“The opportunity to work with Dai [Young] was one of the big attractions of moving to Wasps. He is a very experienced director of rugby and I could see the quality of his coaching during his time at Cardiff Blues. His record with Wasps goes before him, having taken the squad from 11th place to the Premiership Final during his time at the club.
“They only just lost out on the title last season and you can see what a fantastic squad Dai is building through excellent recruitment and retention of quality players. I’m looking forward to learning from him as a coach next season and to being part of the infrastructure Wasps are creating.
“The ambition of the club is clear to see. They have a talented group of players who play a really exciting style of rugby that attracts big crowds. It will be exciting to be part of. Until then, I will be doing everything I can to help Cardiff Blues achieve our goals for the remainder of this season.”
Speaking about his time with Nottingham and his decision to move to Wasps, Ian Costello said:
“The last eighteen months at Nottingham Rugby have been an incredible experience and right up there as the most enjoyable period of my career to date. Nottingham is a special club made up of exceptional people and I couldn’t speak highly enough of the support my family and I have received on and off the pitch.
“I am extremely excited about moving to Wasps next season and the new set of challenges it will bring. Having worked for Munster for five years and looked at certain English clubs in the European Champions Cup, Wasps was a club with such a rich history and tradition and I always had a huge amount of respect for them growing up. Munster and Wasps enjoyed some highly competitive, historic encounters over the years and it will be exciting for me to join such a progressive and ambitious Premiership club.
“I’ve had some really enjoyable chats with Dai [Young], and his clear vision for how he wants to play and what he thinks this squad can achieve excites me. I’m looking forward to working with an excellent group of coaches and an exciting group of players.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn and progress as a coach and I will look to add as much value as I can to the coaching team and squad next season. Until then, my focus remains firmly on Nottingham and the second half of what has been a very positive season to date.”
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