Kennedy completes Harlequins switch
July 10, 2013
Nick Kennedy has completed his return to English rugby © Getty Images
Harlequins have bolstered their forward ranks with the signing of lock Nick Kennedy from Toulon.
Kennedy, 31, was a regular member of last year's Heineken Cup-winning side, while he also helped Toulon to the final of the Top 14 in France. But the former England international requested to be released from the club for "personal reasons", allowing him to return to the Aviva Premiership with Quins.
"I've had a memorable year in the south of France and winning the Heineken Cup with Toulon will rank among the highlights of my career," Kennedy said. "The opportunity to return to England and join Harlequins has come at the right time for me.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge and to being part of an exciting squad of talented players. I would like to thank Toulon for releasing me and for their support during my time in France."
The move sees Kennedy link up once again with Quins director of rugby Conor O'Shea, who gave Kennedy his start in the professional game when he held the same role at London Irish, for whom Kennedy played for 11 years.
"We are delighted that Nick has decided to join Harlequins," O'Shea said. "In doing so he has sacrificed a valuable contract at Toulon to return to England where he feels he has unfinished business.
"His ambition is pretty clear in that he wants to win the Aviva Premiership and force his way back into the England squad ahead of the Rugby World Cup in 2015."
Kennedy's presence adds to the London club's second row options, with his experience expected to be valuable in guiding youngsters including Charlie Matthews, George Merrick and Sam Twomey.
"There will be real competition now among our second rows with Nick's signing and the young guys really pushing for selection," O'Shea added. "Charlie, George [Robson] and Nick may have a headstart on Sam and George but they will push each other and make us better."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park
The latest Week in Pictures takes in photographs from the Rugby Championship, the Top 14 and the southern hemisphere domestic scene
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold