Confirming their new contracts, Harlequins Director of Rugby, John Kingston said: “I am delighted that we have secured contract renewals with four of our highly talented young players, in the shape of Calum, Gabs, Dino and Niall.
“They all have very bright futures ahead of them given the talent and determined attitude they possess.
“Harlequins has a wonderful record of bringing through players from the Academy and it is a reputation we are strongly driving to continue.”
Joining the full time Harlequins Academy for the 2016/17 season, Gabriel Ibitoye’s first Harlequins appearances came in November 2017. Ibitoye opened his try-scoring account for Harlequins with a stunning try against Bath Rugby in the Aviva Premiership, racing in from inside his own 22. On the international stage, Ibitoye has represented England at U18 and U20 level; winning the 2017 U20 Six Nations and finishing as England’s top try scorer at the U20 World Rugby Championship of the same year.
Confirming his contract extension, Ibitoye said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to re-sign at this great club. We have an exciting group of boys who I believe can do something special over the next few years.
“It excites me that I’ll be able to work closely with the coaching staff and players to help improve my skills and take me to the next level as a young player.”
Back rower Dino Lamb has enjoyed a breakout season in the quartered shirt this term after joining the full time Academy for the 2016/17 season. The former Cranleigh School student made his debut for Harlequins away to Northampton Saints in the Aviva Premiership in September 2017 and scored his first try for the Club against Worcester Warriors in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
A diverse forward – who can also cover the second row – Lamb also represented England in the U20s World Rugby Championship in the summer of 2017. On his new deal, Lamb added: “I’m really excited to have signed on with such a prestigious club.
“To be surrounded by some of the best players and coaching staff has massively benefited me so far – especially this season – and I’m really excited to continue the journey and push on.”
Scrum-half Niall Saunders has also put pen to paper on a new contract after making his debut for the Club in this season’s Anglo-Welsh Cup at home to Worcester Warriors. Former Epsom College student Saunders is the son of former Ireland scrum-half Rob Saunders and has represented Ireland at U18, U19 and U20 levels. Joining the Academy ahead of the 2016/17 season, Saunders has also represented Harlequins at 7s.
After being released at the end of last season due to medical reasons, Saunders returned to Harlequins ahead of securing a new contract in the Academy. On his new contract, Saunders added: “I’m very excited to have re-signed for the Club after what had happened last year, it was something I knew would be a long and tough road back, not only emotionally and mentally but physically as well.
“It’s great to be back in the environment of so many world class players, to feed off their knowledge and to also work out why they’re at the top of their game, especially the likes of Danny [Care]; someone I think plays the most exciting rugby as a nine in world rugby.
“It’s been a massive learning curve for myself and feel I’ve come out stronger in all aspects, I’m really looking forward to the future and being involved with Harlequins again.”
Fellow scrum-half Calum Waters has been involved with the Harlequins Academy since May 2015, joining aged 18. Waters scored on his Harlequins debut away to Exeter Chiefs in March 2017 and has made two further appearances this season in the Anglo-Welsh Cup. A speedy and diminutive number nine, Waters has also represented the club at 7s and 10s level.
Confirming his extension with the Club, Waters said: “I’m thrilled to have re-signed with the Club. I’m really looking forward to developing my game further as a scrum-half under the coaches we have here as well with the guidance of senior players such as Danny [Care] and Dave [Lewis].
“I’m excited to kick on at Harlequins over the next couple of seasons and add to the number of appearances I have made so far for this great club.”
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