Harlequins Paul Lasike
The Premiership Rugby Harlequins announced the signing of Paul Lasike, who captained the Major League Rugby Utah Warriors for the season.
The New Zealand-born 28-year-old was capped six times for the USA Eagles and was a factor in the Eagles 30-29 victory over Scotland in June. That was the USA’s first win over a tier one rugby nation since the 1920s.
Lasike played rugby growing up in New Zealand and made the Waikato U16 and U18 representative teams. After finishing School at the Church College of New Zealand, Lasike came to Highland and won a US High School National Championship in 2008 with Coach Larry Gelwix.
Lasike also played rugby at Brigham Young University from 2009-2014 where he earned All-American honors and help lead the Cougars to four National Championships. At BYU, his speed and hard running style also caught the attention of the Football team. Lasike walked on, earned a scholarship to play running back for the Cougars, and was named a team Captain his senior year. In 2015 Lasike signed as a free agent with the NFL Chicago Bears, where he played two seasons at fullback.
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Lasike told Quins TV: “Playing rugby in the US and representing them at international level has been an awesome experience. But it was an honour to be asked to join such a prestigious club as Harlequins and I am delighted to be joining the Club.”
“I did my own research about the Club and I asked a couple of my friends on the US team about the Harlequins and they said, ‘Grab the bull by both horns and take it!’ So I did. It is an exciting, awesome opportunity and now we have the next month to get prepared for the start of the season. I can’t wait.”
Paul Gustard, Harlequins’ Head of Rugby said: “I am delighted Paul is joining us for the start of a new era at Harlequins. 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.”
Utah Warriors Head Coach Alf Daniels said Quins’ latest signing showed the strength of Major League Rugby in the US. “Paul signing with the Quins just shows that the MLR has talent,” he said. “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 up to step into his shoes for the Warriors.”
Utah Warriors General Manager Kimball Kjar added: “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 become one of the world’s top professional rugby competitions.”