Wasps stay on Roumat's tail

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The Independent Online
Wasps' place in Europe next season is more or less assured, whoever is running professional club rugby by then. They are poised today to enter the European transfer market at the same time as announcing their intention to float on the stock market.

Olivier Roumat, the French lock, has been the London club's target for much of the season, although Simon Shaw, the England A lock who has missed nearly all of Bristol's season through injury, is another among the myriad linked with Wasps. Gareth Rees, the Canadian stand-off playing for Newport who represented Wasps in the 1986 cup final, could be the other.

Whichever lock, it would be a significant addition to Wasps' playing portfolio; a second-row combination of Roumat and Glyn Llewellyn, already signed from Neath, would address the ball-winning problem that has contributed most to keeping them down in fourth position in the championship this season.

Roumat, who has 59 caps, had the opportunity to return to South Africa, where he spent the latter part of the last Southern-hemisphere season with his compatriot Thierry Lacroix helping Natal to the Currie Cup. Lacroix has already abandoned his international career and signed a three-year contract with Natal.

Wasps' stock-market move would secure their financial future now that they are 11 days away from having to pay their players. Already the club are committed to a pounds 2.5m ground redevelopment, which will initially increase capacity from 4,000 to an all-seated 7,500 while turning the pitch through 90 degrees.

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