ashley johnson

South Africans swarming to success in England

A clutch of South African players are doing good things in Europe. Not least of which, Ashley Johnson and three other compatriots at Wasps in England.

South Africans are forging successful club careers around the world, a name for themselves at Wasps in the English Premiership. Ashley Johnson, now a veteran of 150 caps for the club since last month, is the leading light of five such players at the fifth-placed Aviva Premiership team.

The South African quartet at Wasps represent relatively marginalised players, on a national level at least, who have gone on to enjoy sustained success and game time for their clubs abroad. Because of South Africa’s selection process, players abroad often get excluded from national team groups but this can allow players to thrive in lucrative domestic leagues.

Johnson, once a versatile back-row forward and specialist at number 8, now represents Wasps in the number 2 jersey. It’s quite the transformation . A little over a month ago, the ex-Cheetahs man made his 150th Wasps appearance against The Newcastle Falcons. Johnson has been with The Wasps since 2012 and this milestone was all the sweeter for Johnson as he led the side out alongside his son. Joining Johnson at Wasps are Juan de Jongh, Willie le Roux and Nizaam Carr. Carr’s short-term loan deal at Wasps will have its monetary benefits and incentives, but when it comes to an end he’ll return to Western Province and The Stormers, where he recently won the Currie Cup. This should provide the necessary springboard for him to significantly add to the five Springbok caps he already has under his belt.

For some more context into Johnson and his career trajectory that has culminated in a successful stint at the Wasps, check out his interview from February.

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