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Ollie Lawrence on Harlequins' radar if Andre Esterhuizen heads home

By Neil Fissler
Bath's Ollie Lawrence (Photo by Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images)

Harlequins could look no further than England international Ollie Lawrence should they need to replace Springboks Rugby World Cup winner Andre Esterhuizen this summer. The Sharks would like to buy Esterhuizen out of the last year of his contract at The Stoop, but the London club are demanding a £500,000 transfer fee before allowing him to leave.

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Esterhuizen left the Durban-based URC side to move to the English capital four years ago, but they want him back to replace Rohan Janse van Rensburg, who has linked up with immediate effect with Yokohama Canon Eagles as injury cover for Jesse Kriel ahead of a switch to Bordeaux-Begles for the 2024/25 season in France.

If Esterhuizen moves home, Harlequins could buy the 24-year-old Lawrence out of the final year of the Bath contract he signed when moving to The Rec in October 2022 after Worcester Warriors went out of business just months after winning the Premiership Rugby Cup.

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The outside centre, who originally joined Bath as a short-term injury dispensation cover, has been sensational for the West Country club, winning the Gallagher Premiership player of the season award last May.

He was also named Premiership player of the month for December, making an instant impact when he returned from France after helping England to finish third in the World Cup.

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Lawrence, who has scored five tries in eight 2023/24 games with Bath, is this week set to return to England training ahead of the Guinness Six Nations round three trip to face Scotland at Murrayfield on February 24.

He suffered a hip injury playing for Bath in January against Toulouse in the Investec Champions Cup and missed the recent Test wins over Italy and Wales. His return to training will be a massive boost for England boss Steve Borthwick.

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3 Comments
K
KiwiSteve 125 days ago

Why on earth would Esterhuizen move back. He came with a young family from high violence, gated compounds, high security, lack of freedom because of that. His wife can walk round south west London safe as houses. Madness. He should think of his family and stay, and get UK citizenship.

A
Alex 125 days ago

Firstly Bath would have to be insane to derail the squad building they've been doing and the progress they've been making by selling one of their key attacking players.

Secondly OL has played all his best rugby at 13 and it would be a shame if his club career was hindered with the same limited “big fella must be an inside centre” logic that has dogged his test experience so far.

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