George Merrick admits he will miss life at Harlequins – despite expressing his excitement ahead of a move to recently-crowned Challenge Cup winners Clermont Auvergne.

The 26-year-old second-row’s move to France was announced back in January and will join his new teammates ahead of the 2019-20 season after eight years and 100 appearances for Quins.

Following last weekend’s conclusion to the regular Premiership Rugby season, the former England Under-20 international says that he has accumulated a raft of special memories.

He said: “The high for me was making my debut when I was 20 in the London double-header [in September 2013]. I thought it was a wind up at first as I hadn’t even played a first team game and I was starting.

“To run out in front of 80,000 people against Wasps was pretty special and I’ll always remember it.

“The good thing about Quins is that there aren’t really any big egos and everyone – from the first-year academy players to the likes of Chris Robshaw and Joe Marler – is on the same level.

“I will miss training but most importantly the boys because we’re all such good mates. It’s almost like being at school. No matter what the conditions are or what you’re doing, you’re always having a laugh.

“Playing in France is always something I’ve wanted to do, to develop as a player. I’ve been here eight years now and sometimes, it’s time to call it a day.

“My French isn’t very good – about as good as Del Boy’s! But I’m so excited to get out there, show them what I’m about and learn different things.”

Among the other 15 players departing the Twickenham Stoop this summer is scrum-half Dave Lewis, who is retiring from professional rugby aged 30.

Lewis joined Quins ahead of the 2017-18 season and went on to make 28 appearances for the club, and is leaving the sport to pursue a career as a financial advisor.

Elsewhere, youngster Alex Dombrandt capped off a terrific first season at Quins by being named in the BT Sport Dream Team earlier this week.

The 22-year-old number eight added his latest accolade to a long list of awards this season, including his club’s player of the year and supporters’ player of the year awards.