Powerhouse Bok centre set to return to South Africa after deciding on future

Powerhouse Bok centre set to return to South Africa after deciding on future

Springbok centre Andre Esterhuizen is set for a South African homecoming at the end of the current season after his Harlequins departure was confirmed.

The midfield powerhouse has spent the past four years at the London club and was a key part of their Premiership triumph in 2021.

His form for Quins earned him a Springbok recall and he was part of the squad which won the Rugby World Cup in 2023.

"Andre has been an integral member of our squad for the past four years and will be hugely missed," Harlequins director of rugby Billy Millard said.

"We're disappointed to lose a player of his calibre, but we understand and respect his decision and wish him well for his career back in South Africa.

"We have an important run of matches to conclude the season and look forward to Andre's impact as we strive to achieve our objectives."

Esterhuizen still had a year remaining on his contract but he has consistently been linked with a move away.

Clubs from Japan and France have been circling but, according to South African outlet Rapport, the Sharks are willing to pay the hefty transfer fee required to bring him home.

They have been looking for an inside centre following the loss of Rohan Janse van Rensburg, who will join Bordeaux-Begles ahead of 2024/25.

Esterhuizen came through the system at the Durban outfit and played there for six years before signing for Quins in 2020.

"I'm very grateful to Harlequins for providing me with the opportunity to return home to South Africa and be closer to my family," the 29-year-old said.

"It's been a difficult decision but I'm very thankful to the club for working through the process with me.

"I have loved my time at Quins, the club has played a huge role in my development and career achievements, and I have forged incredible memories and great teammates.

"I want to thank the fans for their fantastic support, playing in front of The Stoop every week is very special and I look forward to my final few months at the club. Once a Quin, always a Quin!"

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