England Counties Hooker Billy Harding will join London Scottish for the 2018/19 season from National One side Esher.
Harding knows London Scottish very well having played all his junior rugby for the Exiles until he was eighteen. He was part of a junior set up which produced the likes of Harlequins Kyle Sinckler and George Merrick and Italy International Tomasso Allan.
Harding is currently out on tour with England Counties as they take on Romania having been selected via representing Esher and Surrey County. Harding appeared in the first game of the Tour last Friday as they beat CSM Bucharest, with Billy continuing his try-scoring form, grabbing two tries and made a follow up appearance against Romania A from the replacements bench.
✍? | Billy Harding #BecomesAScot
The former London Scottish junior returns from @esherrugby for the new season ? Billy is currently on tour with @EnglandCounties in Romania ??
Full Story ➡️ https://t.co/KbTzZvDkDY pic.twitter.com/AuEw3mJjJO
— London Scottish FC (@LSFCOfficial) June 7, 2018
The bullish Hooker has been a figurehead for Esher this season in National One, leading from the front as Captain and helping them to solid mid-table finish, a few wins away from the Top 6. Before joining Esher, Harding was at National Two North side Stourbridge RFC.
Notorious this season in National One as a nuisance at the breakdown and the source of many a turnover for the Esher side. Harding is also an energetic player who knows his way to the try line, often popping up in the right place at the right time. In February, Harding managed to grab himself a hat-trick away at Old Albanians, an impressive feat for a Hooker.
The England Counties representative was happy to be returning to familiar territory. “I’m over the moon with the opportunity to return to the club that developed me through my junior rugby years. I’m really appreciative of the year I had at Esher last season and now I am relishing the chance to step up to the next level. I’m really grateful to Dave Morris for giving me the opportunity, and I can’t wait to get into preseason at my old club.”
Director of Rugby Dave Morris was thrilled to add someone to his squad for next season who holds the club dear to their heart. “It is brilliant to welcome Billy back to The Athletic Ground, from the age of 12 to 18 Billy wore the famous London Scottish Jersey as part of our Juniors. That history and connection to the club is so important to have in the changing room. Billy was captain of Esher and has had an outstanding season. I have watched a lot of footage of him and been to watch him in person. I was impressed with not only his all-action performances but also his connection with the Esher supporters. I am excited to see Billy take the step up to the Championship. I must also congratulate him for his selection for England Counties, the pinnacle of County representative rugby.”
Harding joins an ever-growing 2018/19 squad and is the forth Hooker to be signed for the Scots joining Jared Saunders, Loughborough graduate Ollie Adams and Army Vice-Captain Pete Austin.