England centre Joe Marchant has returned to training with Harlequins ahead of the August 14 Gallagher Premiership restart following his progressive six-month loan with the Blues in Super Rugby. 

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On the same day that Marchant celebrated his 24th birthday, Quins shared photos on social media of the three-cap international midfielder at their Surrey Sports Park training ground as they prepare for the resumption of the English league campaign which has nine regular-season rounds of games to play. 

Accompanied by the progress Mike Brown and Nathan Earle, who have recovered from long-term injuries, and signings such as Andre Esterhuizen, Wilco Louw and Tyrone Greene, head coach Paul Gustard is set to have some major boosts to his team for the second half of the season. 

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Of course, Quins have also seen plenty of players leave the Stoop in recent weeks; Kyle Sinckler, Niki Goneva and Francis Saili to name a few. 

Marchant, though, is now back on their roster after he finished his spell in New Zealand by coming on from the bench in the Blues’ 27-24 victory over the Highlanders at Eden Park on June 27. 

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His loan move to New Zealand was announced at the end of 2019 and was designed to see the English midfielder play in the 2020 Super Rugby season before returning to Harlequins for the 2020/21 season.

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He did feature in the first seven weeks of Super Rugby before it came to a stop as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but he got to play for the Blues again before returning to England due to how quickly the interim all-New Zealand tournament was organised.  

Marchant had been vying for the No13 shirt with All Black Rieko Ioane, while also being in a backline that included Beauden Barrett and new sensation Caleb Clarke, not to mention squad member Dan Carter. He was also coached by one of the great centres of the game, Tana Umaga, which would have only enriched his experience in New Zealand. 

The New Zealand season may not have panned out how Marchant – or anyone – would have imagined, but his experience will still be of great benefit to Harlequins, who are set to resume the Premiership season in seventh place.

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