Having lit a fire with the signings of four overseas Test internationals earlier in the week, Harlequins boss Paul Gustard initially turned his attention to indigenous UK talent on Wednesday with the announcement that he has captured two local forwards for next season before again shopping overseas.
The London club stole a march in the recruitment stake for 2019/20 with the early week revelation that they have captured the signatures of Argentina duo Martin Landajo and Santiago Garcia Botta, Italy’s Michele Campagnaro and Wales’ Scott Baldwin.
The signings continued to come thick and fast on Wednesday, with Gustard first revealing he had snapped up 22-year-old English openside Will Evans from Leicester and Scottish second row Glen Young from Newcastle. He then later unveiled an overseas addition, adding 27-year-old South African lock Stephan Lewies to the mix.
Evans enjoyed a stellar rise through the ranks at Leicester in the closing stages of the 2015/16 season, making his senior debut and then going to the World Under-20s championships with England who reached the final. He was named in that competition’s dream team and became a member of England’s senior EPS squad of 45 at the tender age of 19.
Gustard said: “Will is a player I have been fortunate to work with before. He’s a young man with a very clear goal of where he wants to get to and we are delighted he has chosen to join us as he takes the next step forward in his burgeoning career.
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“He is a tough-on-the-ball seven, he tackles hard and runs with real intent. He is a super talent and I’m confident in our ability to help him develop his game, fulfil his potential and realise his ambitions, which in turn will help us achieve ours.”
Evans said: “There is a great buzz around Harlequins at the moment and I know they are an incredibly ambitious club.”
Young, meanwhile, has been with Newcastle since he played for their under-18s in 2012/13. Two years later he broke into the first team and represented his Scotland’s under-20s.
— Harlequins ? (@Harlequins) March 20, 2019
He played the 2015/16 season on dual registration with Doncaster and was named in the Championship dream team that season, having made the play-off final. Young then made his Premiership debut the following season.
Gustard said: “Glen is an incredibly promising talent and we’re looking forward to having him as part of our squad as we look to build on the early momentum we have earned to date.
“He has impressed us with his playing performances and we were delighted that he is the kind of self-effacing character we are looking for. He is hungry, energetic and is desperate to improve. He loves lineouts and will add real awareness and acumen to our calling systems and structures.”
Here's a young man aiming to take on the world ? https://t.co/s0ioBtGdD7
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 19, 2019
Lewies is currently on loan with Lions but played the majority of his career in South Africa with Sharks where he made 80 appearances. He earned his only Test cap at the age of 22 when he replaced Victor Matfield in a 2014 55–6 win over Scotland in Port Elizabeth.
“We feel Stephan has illustrated that desire to compete and find a way to win,” said Gustard. “We are confident we can provide an environment that will see him succeed. It is a very positive signing for the club.”
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