Thomas Young’s decision to sign a new contract at Wasps is one that may have caught some supporters off-guard. The three-cap Wales international is one of the premier players at the Coventry club, but a number of factors suggested he could have been on his way out of the Ricoh Arena. 

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The departure of Young’s father Dai as director of rugby earlier this year meant there was no longer the family incentive for the 28-year-old to stay. On top of that, the biggest draw away from Wasps appeared to be the 60-cap rule regarding Wales selection. It would have meant that Young would have to move to one of the Welsh regions to keep his limited international career alive.

However, with no interest from any side in Wales, the flanker will instead remain at Wasps for a new era under Lee Blackett. Young’s lack of international exposure since joining Wasps in 2014 has consistently puzzled many viewers of the Gallagher Premiership, as the club’s co-captain is integral to how they play and his absence has been noticed during his injury struggles over the past two seasons. 

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There is no stat that highlights his importance to Wasps more than the fact that he has been involved in 35 Premiership tries since his debut September 2014 debut. According to Opta Sports, Thomas Waldrom is the only forward in that period in Premiership rugby to have been involved in more tries. This is an indication of how integral the Welshman is to Wasps. 

“Thomas Young has been directly involved in 35 tries in Premiership rugby since joining Wasps at the beginning of 2014/15 (25 tries, 10 assists),” tweeted Opta. “Thomas Waldrom (41 tries, 5 assists) is the only forward to have been involved in more tries in that period. Extension.”

While Young is a well-rounded openside, the attacking side of his game is matched by scarcely anyone. His pace and support play have helped Wasps play at a tempo that freed up players like Christian Wade, Charles Piutau, Willie Le Roux and Kurtley Beale, who have all worn the black and yellow jersey in recent years. 

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So although this contract extension will put the loose forward’s international career on hold, he is certainly appreciated at Wasps. 

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