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Harlequins announce signing of USA international and former NFL player

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P aul Lasike, who starred for USA when they beat Scotland earlier this summer, has signed for Harlequins.

The New Zealand-born 28-year-old, who has been capped six times for the USA Eagles, joins Harlequins from Utah Warriors where he was captain since the start of the year.

Lasike made a huge impression on the international scene in June when USA beat Scotland 30-29 in Texas. His powerful defence was a major factor in his country’s first victory over a major international rugby nation.

He first travelled to the US from Auckland on a rugby scholarship at Brigham Young University in Utah but he was soon approached to play for the American Football side there.

His success with them led to signing contracts with the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL and later Chicago Bears, where he played as fullback.

In his first major test match Paul Lasike stepped up to make a strong impact. As I’ve been saying, he’s not only huge power running straight. In this there is also some footwork to make extra yards, plus once Scotland put two men on him, good passes to put teammates in space. pic.twitter.com/dnrvhD7tyc

L asike, who spent three years in the NFL before returning to rugby with Utah Warriors, told Quins TV: “Playing rugby in the US and representing them at international level has been an awesome experience. But it was an honour to be asked to join such a prestigious club as Harlequins and I am delighted to be joining the club.

“I did my own research about the club and I asked a couple of my friends on the US team about the Harlequins and they said, ‘Grab the bull by both horns and take it!’ So I did. It is an exciting, awesome opportunity and now we have the next month to get prepared for the start of the season. I can’t wait.”

P aul Gustard, Harlequins’ Head of Rugby, said: “I am delighted Paul is joining us for the start of a new era at Harlequins. He is a player who has enormous game-changing potential and I am very excited and pleased that Paul and his young family have made the decision to come to be part of our journey.

“He adds something different to a talented group of centres that we have at the club. I am sure the fans will enjoy his approach to the game and give him and his family the warm welcome that they are famous for.

“I am thankful for the cooperation of the MLR and Utah Warriors for allowing Paul the opportunity to develop his game, challenge himself and give Paul and his family new experiences to enjoy.”

Paul Lasike, who starred for USA when they beat Scotland earlier this summer, has signed for Harlequins.

Harlequins sign USA centre and former NFL fullback Paul Lasike

By Tom Simmonds

Last Updated: 03/08/18 5:51pm

Harlequins have signed Utah Warriors centre and former NFL fullback Paul Lasike.

Lasike spent two years in the NFL – 2015 and 2016 – with the Arizona Cardinals and the Chicago Bears before moving to rugby with the Utah Warriors in 2017.

He has captained the American rugby union side Utah Warriors since the start of the year.

Lasike said: “It was an honour to be asked to join such a prestigious club as Harlequins and I am delighted to be joining the club.”

The New Zealand-born player has enjoyed success on the international stage having been capped six times by the USA Eagles. He was part of the USA team that defeated Scotland in June.

Harlequins’ Head of Rugby Paul Gustard added: “He adds something different to a talented group of centres that we have at the club. I am sure the fans will enjoy his approach to the game.”

Head Coach of the Utah Warriors Alf Daniels believes that the move shows the growing strength of Major League Rugby in America.

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“Paul signing with the Quins just shows that the MLR has talent. There is talent in America and the MLR is the best path forward to develop that talent,” he said.

Harlequins next take to the field in a friendly against the Jersey Reds on August 11.

Harlequins have signed Utah Warriors centre and former NFL fullback Paul Lasike.