"I want to play in different leagues" - Marcus Smith hints at possible Harlequins exit - Ruck

“I want to play in different leagues” – Marcus Smith hints at possible Harlequins exit

England and Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith has hinted he may exit Twickenham Stoop as he wants to ‘experience other countries and leagues’

After the World Cup, the Harlequins’ number 10 will become a highly sought-after player by Top 14 clubs as his contract expires in 2024.

“If you look across to the Top 14, you see the dominance they have in Europe,” said Smith.

“For me that’s mainly down to the salary cap. If they’ve got more resources and finances to build their squads then they’re probably going to be in a better position to win those tournaments. 

“I’ve never personally been further than the Round of 16. When I was younger I wrote in my book that I want to win the Heineken Cup. To do that here in England is extremely tough.

“Two clubs folded which is never a good sign for the game in the Premiership. You see the viewing numbers in France rising. The number of people watching games over there is a different level to us. There are avenues the Premiership can go down. 

“I’m biased but I think Quins are playing a big part with games like Big Game and Big Summer Kick off. A bit of variation in the game of rugby, which is so traditional, might entice a different audience to come and watch our games. That hopefully leads to better grassroots participation, an increase in the salary cap, better teams and hopefully European titles come back to England.”

He added: “I’m still early on in my career. I think obviously I want to experience different cultures, I want to play in different leagues.

“But I’ll do that when the time’s right, for me, for my family, for my girlfriend and in my development as a rugby player and as a person as well.

“At the minute I’m loving playing in the Premiership, I’m loving playing for Harlequins, and I guess we’ll see what happens in the future.”

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“Heavy heart” – Harlequins have confirmed TEN departures

Harlequins have today confirmed four more players will depart the Club at the conclusion of the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership season. 

Back-row Viliami Taulani, scrum-half Jack Stafford, wing Conor Oresanya and prop Rhys Litterick.

Despite securing the signings of Joe Launchbury and Will Porter for the upcoming 2023/24 season, Quins may need to further reinforce their roster before the start of the new campaign.

Additionally, there is a pressing need for them to explore options to prolong the contract of Marcus Smith, the talented England fly-half.

Smith’s current contract is set to expire in 2024, and there have been reports of considerable interest from clubs overseas.

Below are the names of the six players who have already confirmed their exit from Twickenham Stoop this summer.

HARLEQUINS OTHER CONFIRMED DEPARTURES:

#1. Aaron Morris (retiring)

The 28-year-old will be retiring at the end of the season, following a series of serious injuries which have seen him side-lined for much of the last two seasons.

Commenting on his departure, Morris said: “This has been a very difficult decision and made with a heavy heart. The last two seasons have been incredibly challenging as I have battled with multiple serious injuries, bringing both physical and emotional pain.

“It is time for me to find the joy that rugby once gave me in something else. Whilst my career is shorter than I would have liked, I retire proudly with Premiership winners medal and as a Junior World Champion. I want to thank the Club, my teammates, the supporters and my family for all their support. I hope I have made them proud”.

Harlequins Head Coach Tabai Matson said: “We will be sorry to see Aaron go. He has been desperately unlucky with injuries and while his career has been shorter than we all would have liked, he can feel very proud of his achievements in the Quarters.

“We are always sorry to see good men leave our club and Aaron’s departure will leave a massive hole. We wish him all the best for the future knowing with his capabilities he will transition successfully and will probably be an exemplar for other players”.

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#2. Tommaso Allan (Perpignan)

After joining the South West London club at the start of the 2021/22 campaign, Allan will return to Perpignan for a second stint at the club.

In a statement, the club said: “Harlequins wish Allan the best in the next step in his rugby career and looks forward to finishing the current campaign with the Italian international in the Famous Quarters.”

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