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Welsh exodus continues with Dillon Lewis moving to the Premiership

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Ian Cook/CameraSport via Getty Images)

The exodus of players from the regions in Wales continued on Tuesday with Cardiff tighthead Dillon Lewis joining Harlequins in the Gallagher Premiership. The announcement comes just eight days after Exeter announced their capture of Ospreys’ Joe Hawkins.

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While there are doubts about the continued availability of Hawkins for Test team selection as his tally of five caps is well below the revised quota of 25 for players based outside Wales, there is no threat to the availability of Lewis as he last month won his 50th cap.

A statement read: “Harlequins are delighted to announce the signing of Dillon Lewis from Cardiff Rugby ahead of the 2023/24 season. Tighthead prop Lewis, 27, earned his 50th cap for Wales against France in this year’s Guinness Six Nations, and joins an experienced front row contingent at Harlequins supporting a strong contingent of academy players establishing themselves into the 1st XV.

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“Growing up playing for Pontypridd, Lewis made his Cardiff debut against Wasps in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2014 and has gone on to represent his club 88 times. Lewis was part of the Wales U20 squad which won a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2016 and went onto be part of the 2019 senior squad who achieved a clean sweep in the Guinness Six Nations.

“He earned his first cap off the bench for Wales against Tonga in 2017 and has since firmly established himself on the international scene.”

“I am over the moon to have signed here and can’t wait to get going in the summer. I’m looking forward to meeting the boys and playing at The Stoop,” said Lewis, adding that the attraction of switching to Harlequons was: “Their brand of rugby and also seeing the culture and environment off the field as well. I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with Adam Jones and the likes of Joe Marler and Will Collier. I have big aspirations to improve as a player.”

Assistant coach Jones, who briefly spent time at Cardiff with Lewis, added: “I first saw him playing for the Cardiff academy eight years ago and I could immediately see that he was going to be a really good player.

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“He joins a really talented pool of props at Harlequins and with great competition for places, they will push each other on. I look forward to welcoming Dillon in the summer and helping him develop his scrummaging to perform for Quins and Wales.”

Harlequins later on Tuesday also announced the signing of Jarrod Evans, Lewis’ club and country colleague. He has eight Test caps and has played for Cardiff 126 times since debuting in 2015.

Evans said: “I’m really looking forward to coming up here. It’s a massive club with a great style of play. One of the things that really attracted me was playing in this league and I am looking forward to challenging myself.”

Harlequins attack coach Nick Evans added: “We are all excited to welcome Jarrod into our environment to add to the talent we have in the fly-half stable. Jarrod is an extremely exciting player with attributes to add to the Quins identity and style.”

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