Wasps close to replacing Varndell as Gopperth heads to Ricoh Arena

Ross McLean
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WASPS are hoping to further bolster their attacking options with a replacement for departing wing Tom Varndell after announcing a deal for Leinster fly-half Jimmy Gopperth.

Director of rugby Dai Young yesterday confirmed Wasps are close to sealing a deal for a new wideman after former England wing Varndell agreed to join Championship title favourites Bristol ahead next season.

With 81 tries Varndell is second only to Sale’s Mark Cueto on the all-time list of Premiership scorers, although that loss of attacking threat has been tempered in the first instance by the signing of Gopperth, who will arrive in the summer.

But the impending transfer of the 31-year-old casts doubt on the future of ex-Saracens No10 Andy Goode, who has amassed more than 2000 Premiership points in his career, when his current deal expires at the end of the campaign.

“We would love to keep him (Goode) involved with Wasps and have offered him a coaching role at the club,” said Young. “At the moment he is keeping his options open and considering a variety of offers elsewhere.”

New Zealand-born Gopperth won English rugby’s Golden Boot in 2010 and 2011 while at Newcastle and Young believes Wasps have signed a player capable of developing their attacking potency. He added: “He is one of the most accurate kickers in northern hemisphere rugby and we also expect him to develop a dangerous attacking partnership in our back line.”