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The Harlequins confirmed the signing of Eagle Paul Lasike Friday, making it four Americans to have inked their first overseas deal off the back of Major League Rugby. Ben Landry signed with the Ealing Trailfinders, joining Andrew Durutalo, and Bryce Campbell is with the London Irish.
Both Landry and Campbell will play in the RFU Championship, England's second-tier professional competition. Lasike's Harlequins are in the top-flight Gallagher Premiership.
This spring, the former BYU All-American and Chicago Bear returned to rugby in earnest for the first time since switching to football in college. It was a triumphant homecoming, as he scored three tries in his first six caps for the USA, helping the Eagles to an 8-0 start to 2018. He also led the Utah Warriors to the semifinals in the inaugural MLR campaign.
Having grown up in New Zealand, Lasike knew little of European club rugby. So when the Harlequins came calling, he had to seek outside counsel.
“I asked a couple of English friends on the USA team about the Harlequins, and they were like, ‘grab the bull by the horns, mate, and take it,’” said Lasike.
“It’s an awesome opportunity and this month will be crucial to get pumping again and get prepared for it.”
Lasike already has his boots on the ground in London as the Harlequins’ preseason is underway.