Tim Visser to leave Edinburgh Rugby for Harlequins

SCOTLAND and Edinburgh winger Tim Visser has signed for Harlequins and will join his new club next season.

Tim Visser will join Harlequins in May after six years with Edinburgh. Picture: SNS/SRU

Visser, who is out of contract at the end of the current campaign, has spent almost six years at Edinburgh since signing from Newcastle Falcons in the summer of 2009.

The 27-year-old has scored seven tries in 18 appearances for Scotland and topped the Pro12’s try-scoring charts for the past four seasons.

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“I am delighted to join a club with as much heritage as Harlequins,” Visser said.

“It’s a dream come true and I’m looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and helping the club move forward.”

He added: “My career at Edinburgh has been great. I came up from Newcastle as a youngster – the opportunity came through then coach Rob Moffat – and I’ve learnt so much working with a number of coaches since then.

“I’ve given so much of my career to Edinburgh and Edinburgh has provided so much in return – the opportunity to play for Scotland would never have come about, for a start – and it’s been a difficult decision to move on.”

Hailing from a rugby background – his father, Marc, has 67 caps for the Netherlands and brother Sep joined him at Edinburgh for a period – Visser was “spotted” by Newcastle while in action at the Amsterdam 7s and promptly signed to the Tyneside club’s academy. He scored the winning try for the Falcons on his debut against Worcester in September 2006, before making the move north of the border just under three years later.

He was the top try scorer in the Pro12 in his first season whilst also achieving theaccolade of Young Player of the Season. Named in the Pro12 dream team four years in succession, he was the league’s Player of the Season in 2011/12. That summer the Zeewolde-born player became eligible to play for Scotland through three years’ residency, and marked his international debut, against Fiji in Lautoka, with two tries.

Having played 122 times for Edinburgh – 119 of those in the starting XV – and having scored 330 points from 66 tries during his time with the club, he admits continuing his career outwith the Scottish capital will be a challenge.

He said: “A lot of people I started with have moved on over time – that naturally happens at any club – but I’ll particularly miss the likes of Roddy Grant and Ross Ford, who are still here. I’ll miss Edinburgh as a city – you take for granted how great a place it is to live. It has a ‘villagey’ feel and I think that will be hard to replicate.”

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O’Shea said: “We are delighted to welcome Tim to the club. He is and always has been a finisher and with the margins between winning and losing so small, players like Tim can be the difference. He is a great man, who is really driven to succeed.

“We are looking forward to welcoming him to Harlequins next season.”

Harlequins are currently eighth in the Aviva Premiership table following a 42-14 defeat at Saracens on Saturday.

Visser endured a frustrating Six Nations this year as Scotland were whitewashed and condemned to the Wooden Spoon. He played a full 80 minutes in the first two matches against France and Wales, before losing his place in the squad for the next two against Italy and England. The only other action he saw was as a blood replacement in the first half and then the last ten minutes of the 40-10 home defeat to champions Ireland on the closing Saturday.

The winger is the second Scot to opt for a move to the Twickenham Stoop this month, with Scotland under-18 prospect Robbie Nairn signing for the Harlequins Academy.