Former Springbok and Wasps forward Ashley Johnson has signed on to become a player-coach at Birmingham Moseley, the club confirmed on Thursday. The South African left Wasps in June after making 198 appearances and was offered a deal to return to South Africa with the Bulls but turned down the offer to remain in England.
The 34-year-old eight-season stay with Wasps but will now be moving down out of the top two tiers of English rugby to extend his playing career while developing his coaching at the National League One club. The forward's signature has been partly funded by a 'I built the team' appeal on gofundme.com that, according to the club's website, had raised £16,914 as of Tuesday, June 23.
"Birmingham Moseley are raising funds through GOFUNDME under the banner ‘I built the team’ and with such generous support of the supporters we are able to bring such a prestigious player to the club. - The club's statement said.
Johnson said: "I’m really looking forward to start my coaching career at such a historic club. And to be able to still play while getting the opportunity to learn from Adam (Balding) and Glacks (Pete Glackin) was the perfect fit for me."
— B'ham Moseley Rugby (@MoseleyRugbyFC) July 2, 2020
“I am delighted that the club have been able to attract someone with the values of Ashley Johnson, he will fit in well with the ethos of the club. He is a very humble guy and his presence around the club will be well received. I look forward to welcoming him and witnessing his skills both on and off the pitch.” - Adam Balding, Director of Rugby.