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George Merrick to leave Harlequins for Top 14 giants

Harlequins second row George Merrick will make the switch from the Premiership to the Top 14 at the end of the season, after penning a deal to join Clermont Auvergne.

The 26-year-old came through the Harlequins academy set-up, taking two years to progress into the first-team when he made his debut against Wasps in 2013.

Merrick has made five appearances for Harlequins so far this season as director of rugby Paul Gustard appears to have established James Horwill and Matt Symons as his preferred second-row combination.

A lock who has won England Under-20 honours including a Six Nations title in 2012, Merrick has signed a two-year contract to move to the Stade Marcel Michelin with an option for a one-year extension.

The Top 14 leaders already boast a formidable engine room in the second row, with Arthur Iturria, Sebastien Vahamaahina and Paul Jedrasiak helping the team edge title rivals Toulouse by three points.

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