Hopper to leave Quins

Date published: April 13 2017

Harlequins have confirmed that centre Matt Hopper will leave the club at the end of the current season to join France’s Pro D2 side Oyonnax.

On confirming the news, Hopper said: “My time at Harlequins has been nothing short of amazing. I’ve been fortunate enough to play in some memorable sides, alongside some unbelievable players.

“The chance to continue my career and make a change was something I could not pass up at this stage and I look forward to what the future holds.

“I leave with a heavy heart and a head full of great memories.

“From myself and my family, thank you to everyone I have met along the way, you made it what it was. I will always follow the club with immense pride and look forward to the success I’m sure it will enjoy over the coming seasons.”

Hopper joined Harlequins in July 2011 having enjoyed a meteoric rise from Championship side Cornish Pirates, to the Premiership outfit.

Making his debut against Sale Sharks in October that year, he helped Harlequins to a 14-match unbeaten run across the Premiership, European Champions Cup and Anglo-Welsh Cup competitions.

In the memorable 24-31 away victory over Toulouse in 2011, his magnificent offload resulted in a crucial Joe Gray try.

As a result of his excellent club form, Hopper was called into the 2012 England Saxons squad to play the Irish Wolfhounds.

Returning all the better for the experience, he was a constant in the latter stages of that season, helping Harlequins to success in the 2012 Premiership Final.

In 2014 he was recalled into the Saxons side, facing the Wolfhounds in Exeter, the city of his birth.

Making his 100th senior appearance for Harlequins in 2016, he has played on 112 occasions, scoring 15 tries.

In recent years he has developed a senior leadership role within the playing group, regularly captaining the team during the ‘A’ League this season.

Commenting on the news, Harlequins Director of Rugby John Kingston added: “Matt has made a huge impact in his time at the Club both on and off the field.

“His style of play very much reflected his attitude to all aspects of work at Harlequins; he is an incredibly committed and loyal man who always gives his absolute all.

“He has been a fantastic role model to many of the younger players in the way he went about his work at the Club.

“I wish him and his young family all the very best for their next adventure in France.”