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Gustard's SA holiday pays dividends

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Gustard's lost holiday time pays off as Harlequins sign Travis Ismaiel

Harlequins have signed Travis Ismaiel, the 27-year-old Bulls winger who made his Super Rugby debut in 2015 against the Sharks and has gone on to earn 39 caps in that tournament, scoring 50 points.

He also scored on his international debut for South Africa in the 2018 friendly against Wales in Washington. Prior to earning full international honours, he represented South Africa A in their two-match series against England Saxons in 2016.

Harlequins boss Paul Gustard said: “I have been enquiring about Travis for a couple of months now since we lost Nathan (Earle) to a nasty injury against Saints last season.

“I was over on holiday in South Africa in the summer with my family and I took the opportunity over a couple of days to meet his agent, speak to Travis and meet some players who knew him and all the feedback I received was that he is such an impressive individual with huge coachability and some real X-factor.

“To be capped in such a competitive position in South Africa allied to boasting a very impressive try-scoring record in Super Rugby of almost one in two is great news for the club. What isn’t great news for me was I had to buy my wife a new handbag to compensate for lost holiday time!

“I have no doubt he will be a huge presence on the pitch for us with his excellent aerial skills. He is fast and is a big man who enjoys running hard.

“We will look for him to work hard to get his hands on the ball as much as we can because, like all our wings, they have magic in them, and we want them to show the league why they are so special.

“Initially he comes as injury dispensation for Nathan, but we see real potential for growth in Travis, so we have signed him on a longer contract to maximise his development. On behalf of the club, we welcome Travis, his wife Zaylin and his children Connor and Kiara.”

Ismaiel added: “I’m very excited to be joining a club like Quins with such a rich rugby history.

“There is a clear excitement when speaking to Paul with regards to the culture they have at the club and what they are looking to achieve over the next couple of seasons.

“I’m looking forward to getting to work with the boys and can’t wait to contribute to the team in any way possible. My family and I can’t wait for this new chapter in our lives and we are looking forward to experiencing a new culture and way of living. I’m sure Quins is the right place to do that.”

WATCH: Episode three of RugbyPass Rugby Explorer series sees Jim Hamilton take a trek through South African rugby

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Gustard's lost holiday time pays off as Harlequins sign Travis Ismaiel