Wasps sign French ace
Former France flanker agrees to move to Adams Park
By Patrick Haond and Tony Curtis. Last Updated: 22/05/08 11:36am
Betsen: Joining Wasps
Wasps have pulled off a massive coup by signing former France flanker Serge Betsen on a two-year deal.
"It could have been easier to sign somewhere else in France, but I wanted to put myself in danger, while discovering a new language, a new rugby."
Serge Betsen Quotes of the week
And the Londoners are expected to complete a double swoop by adding Mark Robinson to their ranks as well.
The 34-year-old Betsen is set to be unveiled on Wednesday, having brought to an end his 17-year association with Biarritz.
Betsen is seen as the ideal replacement for the retiring Lawrence Dallaglio and will bolster the formidable back-row options at the Guinness Premiership title chasers.
Betsen told L'Equipe: "I have signed for two years with the Wasps. I have been at Biarritz for 17 years. Three years ago I extended my contract, but I already had that desire to leave and discover another way of working. I am fascinating by the Anglo-Saxon culture.
"That challenge both motivates and scares me. It could have been easier to sign somewhere else in France, but I wanted to put myself in danger, while discovering a new language, a new rugby.
"I hesitated a lot between several different things. I notably wanted to go to Japan, but finally there was that unexpected proposition from Wasps."
Betsen has been a formidable force for the Les Bleus over the years, before announcing his international retirement earlier this year.
He will now team up with former international captain Rafael Ibanez at Adams Park - although the Wasps fans are already well acquainted with the flanker.
In 2005 Betsen was found guilty of then Wasps centre Stuart Abbott during a Heineken Cup pool game against Biarritz. Wasps cited Betsen after Abbott was left with a broken leg, however he cleared to continue playing.
New Zealand scrum-half Robinson is expected to provide back-up at No.9 to Eoin Reddan after Mark McMillan left to return to Scotland and Simon Amor decided to retire.
The 32-year-old will arrive at Adams Park having spent four seasons at Northampton.
London Wasps director of rugby, Ian McGeechan said, "These are two high quality players whose experience is going to be very important to us, particularly in view of the fact that they will both be available to us for every game of the season.
"As a club that is hit by international call ups, it is very important that we can call upon players with experience and the right attitude, and we feel that in Serge Betsen and Mark Robinson we have two players who fit the bill massively in that respect."