The Harlequins tied the Saracens’ Joe Gray to a permanent deal after the hooker initially joined the club on loan in January. The 2014 England international initially spent eight seasons at Quins, making more than 150 appearances before moving through London to Allianz Park in 2018.
However, after a dozen Gallagher Premiership and Champions Cup appearances for the Saracens who will be in the Championship next season, Gray returned to the Stoop in early 2020 with a short-term deal that has now turned into something a lot. more before her 32nd birthday in August.
“It was fantastic to be able to come back to Quins earlier this season after a stint on the road,” Gray said on the Harlequins club website. “Being able to sign a permanent contract now is even better. The club has always held a special place in my heart and always will be.
“It’s a really exciting time to be back with Quins. We have a good mix of young people and experience in the squad and I think we can really fight for the silverware. It’s a great group that has been so welcoming since my return, especially all the players and coaches, led by Paul (Gustard, the boss), who has been great since I arrived.
Quins was in seventh place in the league and until the Premiership Cup final when the season was suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak. During the lockdown, Gray took on the daunting challenge of completing 200 burpees a day in under 20 minutes for charity.
He took on the challenge in memory of his father, who died in March after a battle with bowel cancer, and Gray last week became Bowel Cancer UK’s official ambassador.
Quins boss Gustard is excited to keep Gray longer at the club. “Joe is a proven elite operator, a true Harlequin and a real positive influence on the team as an upbeat character and a good guy in every way.
“It was clear to me how much he was respected and loved the first day he returned to the training ground by the reaction from the playgroup and support staff.
“He is a committed and talented player who has shown tenacity and perseverance throughout his career to recover from an injury. He has been part of several winning teams and environments, which is a testament to his abilities.
“In professional sport it’s important to have a solid mix of experience and youthful belligerence, and players like Joe are essential to the health of a club.
“We’re really happy that Joe has re-signed as we look to start and build a competitive team to be a regular challenge for the silverware. We know he has a lot to offer us, not just on the pitch.
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