Utah Warriors Captain Paul Lasike Signs with top English Club Harlequins
(Paul Lasike signs with the London Harlequins – Photo: Getty Images)
Salt Lake City, UT–Utah Warriors Captain and USA Eagle standout Paul Lasike has signed a contract to play with one of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby top clubs the Harlequins.
The historic “Quins” club dates its origins back to 1866 and plays its fixtures at the vaunted Twickenham Stoop in Southwest London. Despite the long and rich history the Quins have laid claim to the Premiership Championship just once in 2012.
But additions like Paul Lasike and others are aimed at change says newly-appointed Quins Director of Rugby Paul Gustard.
“I am delighted Paul is joining us for the start of a new era at Harlequins.” Gustard said, “He is a player who has enormous game-changing potential and I am very excited and pleased that Paul and his young family have made the decision to come to be part of our journey.
“He adds something different to a talented group of centres that we have at the club. I am sure the fans will enjoy his approach to the game and give him and his family the warm welcome that they are famous for.
“I am thankful for the cooperation of the MLR and Utah Warriors for allowing Paul the opportunity to develop his game, challenge himself and give Paul and his family new experiences to enjoy.”
Lasike, a former BYU football and rugby dual stand out in college, went on to play three years in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals and the Chicago Bears as a fullback before coming back to the sport of his youth to play with the Warriors in their inaugural 2018 MLR season.
Paul Lasike takes the ball with 12 minutes to halftime. (Photo: Davey Wilson)
But having the chance to take his talents to a club with the history like the Quins, after such a successful MLR and USA Eagles season, is something Lasike says he’s grateful for.
“It was awesome to play in the inaugural season of the MLR and an honor to represent the Utah Warriors,” Lasike said from London, “I’m extremely thankful to the Warriors organization and to Warriors Nation for opening the gate for me to get back into playing rugby. As of now I’m really excited to be getting an opportunity with the Harlequins rugby club and look forward to what the upcoming season holds.”
Despite losing his team’s captain Utah Warriors head coach Alf Daniels shared his wisdom on the Lasike signing.
“Paul signing with the Quins just shows that the MLR has talent,” Daniels said, “We may be a young team and competition, but there is talent in America and the MLR is the best path forward to develop that talent. We’re excited for Paul, but look forward to the next man to step into Paul’s shoes for the Warriors.”
Utah Warriors GM Kimball Kjar echoed Daniels’ sentiments as he and the MLR Deputy Commissioner Nic Benson helped coordinate the release and signing of Lasike with the Quins.
Paul Lasike takes the ball from 40 meters back. (Photo: Davey Wilson)
“We’re grateful that Paul has this opportunity to represent the Warriors and the MLR in the UK,” Kjar said, “He was cap number one for the Warriors and he’ll always be a part of our family. A year ago people wouldn’t have thought professional rugby in America was feasible. Now, with players like Paul and others leading the way, we can see that not only is the MLR viable and real, but 10 or 15 years from now, we believe the MLR can be one of the world’s top professional rugby competitions.”
Lasike has already reported to London and joined up with his new club as they prepare for their 2018-19 Gallagher Premiership Rugby season which kicks off September 1st against the Sale Sharks. Pre-season friendlies are slated starting August 11th.
The Utah Warriors meanwhile are in the midst of their off-season before reporting to pre-season training later this year. The 2019 Major League Rugby season will kick off January 26th with details and schedules to be released in the coming weeks.
With an average attendance of 4,678 during Warriors’ home games in 2018 and with the MLR’s top points and try-scoring team this past season, the Warriors 2019 season prospects are certainly bright. Utah Warriors 2019 season ticket packages are on sale now at www.WarriorsRugby.com.
About the Utah Warriors
The Utah Warriors are the first professional rugby team based in Utah, one of America’s greatest rugby playing states. Participating in Major League Rugby’s inaugural season, the Warriors aim to bring elite-level Rugby to the State, representing “the Warrior mentality that is within each of us: We stand strong, we stand as one.” For more information, contact [email protected], follow on social at @warriorsrugbyofficial or visit their website at www.warriorsrugby.com.
About Major League Rugby
MLR is a professional rugby league that launched in April of 2018. It’s an initiative of the American rugby community, in partnership with private investors, who believe that American rugby can thrive at the highest levels: as a commercial enterprise; as an influential player on the international scene; and as a participation sport at the youth and senior level. MLR is the pinnacle of the American rugby, and provides a rallying point for local communities, a focal point for American rugby fans, and an aspirational destination for young athletes. For more information, visit usmlr.com.
About Harlequin FC
Founded in 1866 Harlequin FC is London’s only Premiership club. It has a rich heritage and has contributed to the development of rugby both on and off the pitch for over 150 years. The club has a reputation for producing and developing innovative and creative players who play an attractive style of rugby. The club plays at the Twickenham Stoop Stadium, named after Harlequins’ legend Adrian Stoop which sits proudly next to the home of English rugby, Twickenham Stadium. Harlequins own one of the most distinctive jerseys in world sport. The quartered colours of Harlequins reflect a unique identity. The Club motto is Nunquam Dormio: I never sleep and Harlequins are focused on constantly improving our game on and off the field. The Harlequins Foundation makes a positive impact beyond rugby, connecting with new audiences. For more information on Harlequin FC, visit www.quins.co.uk
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