3:04pm Friday 5th August 2011
Harlequins have begun strengthening their squad for the 2012 season by signing two Crusaders players.
Australian prop Mark Bryant, who has been an ever present with the Welsh outfit during their three years in Super League, has agreed a two year contract.
Crusaders stand off Michael Witt, 27, has signed on a three year deal with Quins.
Bryant, 30, played for the Australian Schoolboys in 1998 and began his NRL career with the Canberra Raiders in 2002.
He moved to the Sea Eagles in 2005 and played in consecutive Grand Finals against Melbourne Storm, being on the losing side in 2007 and emerging triumphant in 2008.
A powerful front rower at 107kg (16st 12lbs) and 183cm (6ft), he made the move to Wales for the 2009 season to play for the Crusaders in their inaugural Super League campaign.
Harlequins Head Coach Rob Powell said:”Mark is a top quality, experienced prop having played in Grand Finals in Australia. He has been a consistent performer in Super League over the last three years and will bring us experience and leadership.”
Witt, another Australian, made a sensational start to his Super League career in 2010, rattling up 117 points in just 17 appearances before his inaugural season was cut short by a serious knee injury.
The half back, 180cm (5ft 11ins) and 84kg (14st), had a spell in rugby union with Otago prior to signing for the Crusaders but before than he had spent six years in the NRL. He played two seasons with each of three clubs, Parramatta Eagles in 2003-04, Manly Sea Eagles in 2005-06 and New Zealand Warriors in 2007-08.
Toowoomba-born, Witt was also a champion junior boxer before turning to Rugby League. Despite being born and brought up in Queensland, he turned out for New South Wales Under-19s while at Parramatta and for NSW Residents while at Manly.
Rob Powell said: “Michael will provide us with direction around the park. He has fantastic kicking game and is a great footballer. It’s exciting bringing him in and he will complement our existing quality play makers.”
Meanwhile, Quins have reacted angrily to media claims they had recently pulled out of a deal to sign Castlefords' Nick Fozzard for next season.
A club statement said: "Further to the story in The Sun on Friday, about Nick Fozzard who said he was set to join Harlequins but they reneged on the deal in favour of signing a forward from Crusaders.
"Harlequins RL can categorically state that Fozzard has never been in our plans. We have never spoken to him, nor made him an offer, a fact which has been confirmed by his agent."
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