Andre Esterhuizen: World Cup winner to leave Harlequins at the end of the season

The Quins powerhouse was under contract until next summer (Getty Images)
The Quins powerhouse was under contract until next summer (Getty Images)

Harlequins have confirmed Andre Esterhuizen’s summer return to South Africa, with the Sharks expected to complete the Springbok centre’s signing.

Quins powerhouse Esterhuizen was contracted until next summer, but the Twickenham club have agreed to an early release from his deal at The Stoop.

Esterhuizen helped Quins lift the 2021 Premiership title, and will be aiming to go out with a bang with another league triumph at the end of this term.

Quins sit second in the Premiership table, and face a pivotal clash on the league’s resumption, taking on Saracens at Tottenham on Saturday, March 23.

Harlequins boast an impressive array of developing English talent in the centres, but will this summer be losing one of the sport’s most dominant physical presences.

“Andre has been an integral member of our squad for the past four years and will be hugely missed,” said Quins rugby director Billy Millard.

“We’re disappointed to lose a player of his calibre, but we understand and respect his decision and wish him well for his career back in South Africa.

“We have an important run of matches to conclude and look forward to Andre’s impact.”

Esterhuizen helped South Africa to World Cup glory in France last autumn, where the Springboks retained the Webb Ellis Cup.

The 29-year-old was grateful for the Springboks allowing players’ families to travel with the Test squad.

Esterhuizen admitted his return home has revolved around the need to be closer to family, seeking greater support as his children grow up.

“I’m very grateful to Harlequins for providing me with the opportunity to return home to South Africa and be closer to my family,” he said.

“It’s been a difficult decision but I’m very thankful to the club for working through the process with me.

“I have loved my time at Quins, the club has played a huge role in my development and career achievements, and I have forged incredible memories with great team-mates.”