England forward Joe Launchbury will be back in the Premiership with Harlequins next season after he completes a short-term stint in Japan.
The lock played in the Quins academy as a youngster but his entire professional career had been spent at Wasps, until the Coventry outfit was forced into administration in October.
That left the 31-year-old without a club, but it was announced last week that the second-row had agreed a deal with Toyota Verblitz.
An exciting move
“I’m glad to sign on with Quins. I have fond memories of my time here in the academy. I grew up playing with and against a number of the first team squad, so it has a somewhat familiar feel to come back to Harlequins,” the England international said.
“I’m looking forward to my time in Japan for the rest of this season, but am very excited for the new start with Harlequins over the summer.
“Quins have some of the richest history in the game and it’s been fascinating to hear how this group have tapped back into that Harlequins DNA of old over the last few seasons.”
“With the style of rugby this squad plays, I know it will be an exciting setup to be a part of.”
Launchbury has been a stalwart of English rugby over the past decade, becoming a key player for both club and country, and Harlequins head coach Tabai Matson is pleased with the signing.
One of the best English locks of his generation
“We are delighted to welcome Joe back to Harlequins. He is one of the best English locks of his generation. Earning 70 caps for your country and over 170 for a club as prestigious as Wasps, many as their captain, is no mean feat.
“Joe’s a gentleman of the game but is no slouch when it comes to the most physical part of the sport. We are glad to be able to offer Joe his next role in rugby alongside some familiar faces in his fellow England teammates and Josh Bassett.
“I know our supporters will be sure to give Joe a warm welcome.”