As new Head of Rugby Paul Gustard looks to put his own stamp on the Harlequins side he inherited from John Kingston, RugbyPass understands that former NFL and Chicago Bears fullback Paul Lasike is set to join the club.
Lasike, 28, went undrafted out of Brigham Young University, before featuring in 10 games for the Bears. He was cut in 2017, leading to a switch to rugby following the advent of the Major League Rugby competition in the US this year.
It was not a difficult switch for Lasike to make, with the New Zealand-born centre having played plenty of rugby in his youth, including turning out for Waikato’s U18 side, and he joined the newly-formed Utah Warriors for the 2018 season.
He proved to be a wrecking ball of an inside centre in the MLR and has turned out for the USA Eagles on six occasions over the last year, including a particularly impressive performance in the Eagles’ win over Scotland this summer.
The powerful ball-carrier will bolster Quins’ options at 12, where Francis Saili had an injury-plagued 2017/18 season. New arrival Ben Tapuai is another option at inside centre, but the former Bath man is also comfortable in the outside centre spot and is a different style of midfielder to the bulldozing Lasike.
Quins lacked strike runners off of the effervescent Marcus Smith last season and the addition of Lasike would certainly provide that, as well as being competition for both Saili and Tapuai.
If he can replicate his form from the MLR and international rugby in the Premiership and continue to win collisions, Lasike could be one of the spark plugs that helps Quins move back up the Gallagher Premiership table.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now