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Rob Howley calls on new Wasps owners 'to do the right things'

Alex King and Rob Howley of Wasps pose with the trophy after the Zurich Premiership Final between Bath and London Wasps at Twickenham on May 29, 2004 in Twickenham, London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Rob Howley, who tasted Premiership and Heineken Cup glory with Wasps, has called on whoever ends up in charge of the financially stricken club “to do the right things” to help them get back to the top of the professional club game in England.

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Wasps’ game with Exeter Chiefs this weekend has been suspended after it was reported that the club was heading into administration this week. Against that background, they will follow Worcester Warriors in being relegated to the Championship.

Premiership Rugby and the RFU issued a joint statement in which they said they would “continue to work with the club and once appointed, the administrator to support ongoing efforts to secure a long-term future for the club.”

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Wales legend Howley hopes that will be the case, with the club being given the chance to bid for promotion back to the Premiership as soon as possible should their relegation be confirmed.

“I know there are many standards to the Wasps holdings, and I just hope the people who end up in charge take the right steps to give the club a fighting chance to return to the Premiership,” said Howley.

“I’m sure there will be a thorough analysis of how and why things a got to this point and I hope that whoever takes over can keep the players and coaching staff together and start again next season.

“We’ve all seen what happened with Saracens when they were relegated, and ‘.

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“I know we’ve seen Worcester Warriors lose a lot of their players, but the people behind the scenes need to do everything they can to keep as many of the players as possible together in order to get back to the top as soon as possible – the club game in England needs a strong Wasps.”

The Wasps team in which Howley starred was led by England World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio, but also had a number of non-English players in its ranks. Howley famously scored the winning try against Toulouse in the 2004 Heineken Cup final when he took advantage of some sloppy defending from Clement Poitrenaud to bounce on a loose ball to seal European glory for Wasps. Himself a former Wales captain, Howley says players from all over the world owe the club a huge debt of gratitude.

“When you look back over the history of the Premiership, Wasps are right up there with the likes of Leicester, Bath and Saracens as one of the best teams,” he added.

“They have been dining at the top table of the English game for a long, long time and English rugby will be all the poorer for not having them there.

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“I was lucky to be involved in a golden era at the club when we won Premiership and European titles, and it is a club that is very dear to my heart. They have produced many international players for England and given other internationals from around the world the chance to play at the highest level of the club game.

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“I’m thinking of players like Canada’s Gareth Rees, the Scottish duo of Damien Cronin and Alasdair Reed, my favourite hooker, Trevor Leota of Tonga, and Welshmen like myself. It will be a very sad time for all of us who enjoyed our involvement with the club.

“I feel sorry for the players and the coaches who are caught in the middle of this situation, but I also feel very sad for the fans. Many of them have followed the club from Loftus Road to Adams Park, and then on to Coventry, and all the fans will be hurting.”

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