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Tom Varndell to play again in what will be his 11th club

By Ian Cameron
Tom Varndell was a Global Rapid Rugby signing in 2019 (Photo by Lampson Yip - Clicks Images/Getty Images)

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Tom Varndell isn’t quite ready to hang up his boots just yet, with news that the 36-year-old is set to play for Oxford Harlequins in a dual role as head of community at the club.

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The second highest Premiership try scorer of all time will also take over as head of rugby at the nearby Oxford Brookes University as part of the new role.

Varndell – who played for Leicester Tigers, Bedford, Wasps, Worcester Warriors, Bristol Bears, Scarlets, South China Tigers, Soyaux Angoulême, Yorkshire Carnegie [Leeds] and most recently Bury St Edmunds – held the Premiership try-scoring record for years before Chris Ashton broke it this season.

One of the fastest English rugby players of all time, Varndell also won four Test caps for England in a career that has taken him all over the world.

“To secure someone of Tom’s calibre, as a coach and a mentor, is of great excitement for both our current and prospective students who are looking to play rugby union,” said Marcus Boswell, student sport manager at Oxford Brookes. “It goes without saying that the relationship between Oxford Brookes and Oxford Quins continues to go from strength to strength, and this announcement is another indication of that.

“We will continue to work hard in all areas of our sporting delivery and wider area of activity together, and reap the successes both on and off the pitch for our student athletes.”

Varndell has struggled to retire from the game, despite vowing to hang up his boots in 2020.

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“That’s me done,” admitted Varndell to RugbyPass. “I made the decision that I wanted to get into sports management two seasons ago and the way it’s going at the moment with how busy I am with this agency stuff, I just don’t think I would be able to give my all to a team. I love the game. I will miss that banter of the team changing room and playing the big matches, but I probably won’t get to play in cup final matches ever again as a player.”

It’s seems the call of the oval ball has proved to strong.

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