England internationals Joe Launchbury, Brad Shields, Dan Robson and Jacob Umaga are among 15 Wasps players who have signed new long-term contracts ahead of next month’s restart of the delayed 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership season.

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The length that each contract has been extended for – including the Launchbury deal – was not specified in the story carried on the Wasps club website, but other first-team players who have opted to continue at the Ricoh Arena are Italy international Matteo Minozzi as well as academy products Gabriel Oghre, Tom Willis, Will Porter and Sam Spink.

Having signed from Newcastle in 2018, Zach Kibirige is another to extend as have Thomas Young, Jack Willis, Tom West and Sam Wolstenholme, who all only recently committed their futures to the club.

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The 15th player on the list of extensions is Alfie Barbeary, who was recently promoted to the first-team squad from the academy. With the club looking to make permanent the temporary salary cut that came in when the coronavirus pandemic first broke out, contract extensions have become a ploy across the league to help keep players happy.

Wasps’ XV of freshly extended deals follows recent agreements with the likes of Jimmy Gopperth, Marcus Watson, Rob Miller and Biyi Alo, while there have also been new signings in the guise of Ryan Mills and Myles Edwards.

Speaking on the club website, head coach Lee Blackett said: “I’m delighted to see so many of our existing players committing their futures to the club. We are working hard to develop a brand of winning rugby that gets supporters off their seats and having a nucleus of international experience to help bring through some of our younger players is going to be key in achieving this.

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“The squad was really beginning to show glimpses of its true potential prior to the lockdown with three wins on the spin and it’s brilliant that we have been able to retain so much talent so we have a strong base and can plan for the next few years with a level of certainty.

“These have been challenging times for everybody, and I’m really proud of the way that the players have conducted themselves. Now we are fully focused on preparing for the restart of the season and a strong finish to this campaign and fulfilling the potential this squad has.”

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