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Scrum-half Stafford joins Premiership club Harlequins after leaving Munster

The 23-year-old has signed on for the rest of the 2019/20 Premiership season.
Aug 7th 2020, 3:13 PM 11,604 3

FORMER MUNSTER SCRUM-half Jack Stafford has signed for Premiership club Harlequins on a short-term deal for the rest of the 2019/20 season. 

The 23-year-old impressed the English side during a two-week trial this summer and has now penned a contract through until October.

Stafford has linked up with former Munster assistant coach Jerry Flannery in the process, with the ex-Ireland hooker having joined the club as lineout coach.

jack-stafford Stafford played three times for Munster. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Irish tighthead prop Craig Trenier also recently signed for Quins.

Glenstal alumnus Stafford left Munster at the end of last season after completing his three years in the province’s academy. The Wexford man made three senior appearances for Munster in the Pro14, all of them coming in the 2017/18 season.

The former Ireland U20 international will now hope to make an impression in the Premiership for Quins, where he is in competition with former England scrum-half Danny Care, Argentina’s Martin Landajo, and former Scotland U20 halfback Scott Steele for minutes. Ex-Ireland U20 scrum-half Niall Saunders was forced to retire this summer.

“You get an opportunity like this, you’re dropped in at a top club like Harlequins and you’ve an opportunity to improve yourself, and that’s exactly what I want to do,” said Stafford. “I’m over the moon to be here, it’s brilliant.

“I’ve kinda been in limbo the last couple of months, trying to keep fit, hope for an opportunity, and when this opportunity came about I was delighted and ready to grab it. I’m delighted to be here.

“It’s a young, ambitious group here, which is great. There’s a real competitive edge, a desire to win. And then you’ve got crazy experience all across the backline.”

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Harlequins’ head of rugby, Paul Gustard, welcomed the Irish scrum-half to the club:

“In specialist positions you require strength depth to manage injury, illness and form – and there aren’t many positions more specialist than scrum-half,” said Gustard.

jack-stafford Stafford will hope to secure a longer-term deal. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“With the unexpected retirement of Niall Saunders we were left short in that position with only Martin and DC contracted with the club.

“We were delighted to get Scotty in earlier this summer, a player we have admired for some time and who has been fantastic, but we felt we needed someone else to add to that group.

“Jerry knows Jack very well from Munster, he’s a tenacious, competitive, talkative nine with all the characteristics of what some would consider a typical Munster environment – he wants to compete, wants the challenge and he wants to win.

“As a person he has a great aptitude to learn and is very coachable. He’s got a decent core skillset and has a desire to improve his game.”

Harlequins host Sale Sharks at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday 14 August in the first game of the Premiership’s resumption.

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Murray Kinsella

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