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Marchant has played three times for England and is a former Under-18 and Under-20 international who has already played 85 games for Harlequins.

His inclusion extends the link the Blues have with the Harlequins club, for whom Marchant, 23, has just signed a long-term contract extension which includes a sabbatical allowing him to play in New Zealand.

Having Marchant available will cover the absence of wing Caleb Clarke who has been released by the Blues to join the New Zealand Sevens' Olympic programme for next year.

Marchant said he was looking forward to the move and said he was grateful to Harlequins for giving him the opportunity to grow and extend his game.

"The club has supported me every step of the way in my career to date and proven that Harlequins is still willing to support my growth as an individual.

"I love Harlequins, so I am delighted to have signed a three-year contract extension which was a primary concern for me.

"I am really excited to be given the chance to experience playing in Super Rugby. I am sure that I will learn a lot and I can't wait to bring my learnings back to the club," he said.

Blues coach Leon MacDonald, general manager high performance Tony Hanks and first five-eighths Harry Plummer have all spent time with Harlequins.

Hanks said: "The Blues are excited to be part of this unique arrangement and we want to thank the Harlequins for allowing it to happen.

"New Zealand has developed innovative ways to retain and invigorate our best talent, and sabbatical clauses have been one of those tools to retain our best talent long-term. It's fantastic to be part of a similar arrangement in reverse for such a promising young England player," he said.

"Joe has impressed on and off the field and we look forward to him joining us in January. We are confident that he will learn from his experience in Super Rugby and certainly our players, especially our young backs, will greatly appreciate learning from him," he said.

Harlequins head of rugby Paul Gustard said the club prided itself on treating players as individual and helping them be the best version of themselves.

"Joe has had a long-standing ambition to play Super Rugby and with our strong connection with New Zealand rugby we are pleased we can help facilitate this ambition," he said.