England to return to Japan for two-Test tour in 2020

Japan led 15-10 at half-time of their November meeting with England

Japan led 15-10 at half-time of their November meeting with England

"The England squad had a fantastic experience of the country and we are excited to return in July next year".

"The Blues are excited to be part of this unique arrangement", the franchise's high performance manager Tony Hanks said. I believe his genuine desire to play Super Rugby was so great we wanted to make sure he had this opportunity whilst he has also extended his contract with us, the club he loves and is hugely loved and respected at.

The management of the Premiership club believes that the long-term benefits of allowing their player to spend time away from the club will outstrip the drawbacks.

Harlequins Head of Rugby Paul Gustard added: "We pride ourselves at the Club at treating people as individuals and helping them be the best version of themselves.

Joe has had a long-standing ambition to play Super Rugby and with our strong connection with NZ rugby we are pleased we can help facilitate this ambition".

While English players have competed in Super Rugby before, instances such as this one are rare.

England, who overcame Australia and New Zealand in the knockout stages, lost 32-12 to South Africa in the final last Saturday.

However, as part of the deal, the 23-year-old will link up with the Blues between January and the end of June next year and is poised to share a backline with superstar All Blacks Beauden Barrett and Rieko Ioane for the 2020 Super Rugby campaign. The Blues welcome the Chiefs to Eden Park in a New Zealand derby.

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