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Harlequins seek to ease loss of Jack Clifford with imposing South African

Jacques du Plessis could replace Jack Clifford

HARLEQUINS have started the search to replace Jack Clifford following the announcement that the England international back row has been forced to retire with a shoulder injury.

Clifford, 27, who burst onto the Test scene in Eddie Jones’ early days in charge of the national team, last week admitted defeat in his bid to play again.

Harlequins boss Paul Gustard has been discretely fielding enquiries about potential replacements for the last few weeks and that search will now intensify.

Quins have been linked with a move for South African Jacques du Plessis, who is playing in the French Top 14 for Montpellier.

Wasps were believed to be also interested in Du Plessis, who has spent the last five years in France after starting his career with the Blue Bulls.

The 27-year-old’s future with Montpellier has been in doubt since they were again fined for breaking the salary cap in France.

NEIL FISSLER

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