There was no shortage of goodwill to go around among the Gallagher Premiership clubs over the festive period, as no less than seven players around the league were handed new contracts.
Bristol Bears got the ball rolling on Christmas Eve, inking influential lock Chris Vui (RPI – 59) to a new three-year deal that will keep him at Ashton Gate until 2022.
?? for 3? more years.
— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) December 24, 2018
Vui was a key part of Bristol’s fast start to the season and has cemented himself into the club’s first-choice engine room pairing, bringing all of the leadership qualities that has seen him made captain of the Samoan national side.
Sale Sharks followed that up with some important news of their own, as they managed to tie down club captain – and one of the standout performers in the Premiership this season – Jono Ross (68) until 2022, with the South African, like Vui, signing a new three-year deal.
Ross has established himself in the back row at Sale, alongside the likes of the Curry twins, Josh Strauss and short-term signing Jean-Luc du Preez, giving the club from the north-west consistency and reliability in the loose forwards, as well as a work rate that is comparable to any player in the competition.
Johnson has been at the club since 2012 and is one of the few players still plying their trade for the club who also ran out at Adams Park. He has become a fan favourite at the Ricoh and his ability to cover both the back row and hooker has made him invaluable for Wasps.
Gopperth and Taylor are more recent arrivals but have made considerable impacts in Coventry, despite injuries limiting their impact over the current and 2017/18 seasons. The extensions of both McIntyre and Harris bolster the club’s front row stocks and give them some much-needed consistency heading into next season, when they reportedly could lose the trio of Jake Cooper-Woolley, Will Stuart and Matt Mullan to Premiership rivals.
With Wasps only having won one of their last 12 fixtures and facing news on a regular basis that some of the club’s star players are set to leave in the summer, these re-signings brought some much-needed Christmas joy to a fanbase with increasingly frayed nerves.
Watch: Exceptional Stories: Ian McKinley.
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