Chawatama leaves Harlequins ahead of Bristol Bears move

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Zimbabwe-born front-rower Lovejoy Chawatama is among nine players leaving Harlequins following the end of the 2023-24 season.

Chawatama’s name features on the list of nine players leaving Harlequins alongside
Makeen Alikhan (flanker), Will Collier (prop), Theo Currie (second-row), Will Edwards (fly-half), Andre Esterhuizen (centre), Santiago Garcia Botta (prop), Max Green (scrum-half), Louis Lynagh (wing), Jonny Smith (flanker) and Luke Wallace (flanker).

The experienced tighthead, who joined Harlequins from London Irish in 2023 following their suspension from the Gallagher Premiership, made more than 50 appearances for the Exiles.

After his departure from Harlequins Chawatama is set to join Bristol Bears for the 2024/25 campaign.

The move will see Chawatama making a return to the West Country having studied at University West of England.

The gifted tighthead prop signed for Quins as injury cover in June 2023, making seven appearances.

Prior to Quins, Chawatama featured prominently for London Irish and enjoyed stints with Clifton RFC, London Scottish and London Welsh.

BRENTFORD, ENGLAND – MARCH 25: Lovejoy Chawatama of London Irish in action during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between London Irish and Northampton Saints at Gtech Community Stadium on March 25, 2023 in Brentford, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

English qualified Chawatama has previously represented England Students but Zimbabwe have been making efforts to convince him to feature for their national side, which is also known as the Sables.

Bristol Bears’ Director of Rugby, Pat Lam, said recently: “Lovejoy was one of the most consistent performers in the Premiership during his time with London Irish and his style of play and skills are well aligned to the way we want to play at the Bears.

“As we continue to build our young and exciting squad, it’s key to have established and experienced Premiership players in specialist positions.

“Lovejoy has shown his quality and durability at the tighthead position and he will be a valuable asset for the continued development of our exciting young Bristolian tighthead props George Kloska and Jimmy Halliwell.

Chawatama said: “I’m thrilled to be joining Bristol Bears for the 2024/25 season – it’s a fantastic club with rich history, passionate fans, and ambition.

“It feels like a full-circle moment for me, having spent four years at UWE Bristol as a student and amateur rugby player.

“It’s a place I have fond memories of. I’m excited to bring my family here and make more memories on and off the pitch.”

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