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Tom Varndell joins Harlequins in shock comeback

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Monday Jul 25, 2022

The former premiership record try scorer is set to take to the field again. This will be in a dual role that’ll see him combine his prolific rugby talent with his ongoing rugby management career.

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Varndell has agreed to become Head of Rugby at Oxford Brookes University, which has strong ties to local club, Oxford Harlequins. Varndell will also become the Head of Community at the club, as well as putting on his playing boots once again.

Oxford Harlequins play in the Regional 1 South Central league, and will see themselves competing with the likes of Bournemouth RFC and London Welsh. 

Marcus Boswell, the student sport manager at Oxford Brookes had the following to say about their star capture;

“To secure someone of Tom’s calibre, as a coach and a mentor, is of great excitement for both our current and prospective students who are looking to play rugby union,

“It goes without saying that the relationship between Oxford Brookes and Oxford Quins continues to go from strength to strength, and this announcement is another indication of that.

“We will continue to work hard in all areas of our sporting delivery and wider area of activity together, and reap the successes both on and off the pitch for our student athletes.”

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Tom Varndell scored most of his career tries for Leicester and Wasps, before moving over to West-country side Bristol, helping them move out of the championship and into the premiership.

Despite being one of the most prolific Premiership try scorers of his generation, Varndell achieved just 4 appearances for England. His try-scoring ability did not slow down on the international scale however, with 3 tries notched down before his exclusion from the squad before the 2009 six nations.

Speaking to Rugbypass at the time of his retirement, Varndell was adamant about not returning to playing rugby;

“That’s me done, I made the decision that I wanted to get into sports management two seasons ago and the way it’s going at the moment with how busy I am with this agency stuff, I just don’t think I would be able to give my all to a team. I love the game. I will miss that banter of the team changing room and playing the big matches, but I probably won’t get to play in cup final matches ever again as a player.”

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The allure of picking up that rugby ball has clearly not passed Varndell, at 36 years old it will be fascinating to see how he performs after a couple of years out of the game!

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