With the season finally over, clubs will already be scouting attentively for new players to bring to their club. The number 10 is a crucial position, and bosses will know the perfect fly-half for a good price is gold dust. There aren’t many around, but here is a lift of five great number 10s to sign. This isn’t a list of the 5 best fly-halves, but the 5 fly-halves who will make a great signing, are likely leave, and wouldn’t cost the money of Toulon boss Mourad Boudjellal’s wallet.
Name: Tomasso Allan
What they offer: Allan has placed an expansive, attacking spark in both the Perpignan and Italy back-line. His kicking game does need improvement, but at just 21, the Youngster has time to improve to develop into the best Italian fly-half since Dominguez.
Likelihood of Leaving:
From relegated Perpignan, there is a sizeable chance the young Italian international will want to play in a top league to prepare for a World Cup campaign. The only doubt is that with James Hook already looking set to leave, Perpignan may get the wallet out (and the Perpignan boss did vow for a big budget next season) and spend big to keep the hot prospect.
Who should sign them: A side who needs a more expansive game in their back line, and is looking to build for the future.
Name: Joel Hodgson
Club: Newcastle Falcons
What they offer: Hodgson is another one hot with potential, and set for a good future if he gets the right opportunity. Hodgson transforms a usually stale Newcastle back-line into a weapon that can pierce the best defences in the Premiership. The small built Falcons academy graduate flings ambitious but effective passes, perfectly timed, and has a good offload. It’s a wonder why Dean Richards hasn’t given him more chances in a black jersey.
Likelihood of Leaving: With Joel receiving few deserved chances at Newcastle, and his side not looking set to be anything more than relegation candidates next season, surely Hodgson would welcome a move to a new club. Newcastle being his home-club is the only possible barrier to Hodgson moving.
Who should sign them: The Falcon will hope to push on his career by joining a side who will give him more game time, but if not a side with bigger ambitions than Newcastle.
Name: James Hook
What they offer: Hook showed regular this season for the Basque club that he possesses the traits to be a good, attacking fly-half. The out-of-favour Wales international has a range of slick tricks, and can also cover centre and full back. Hook’s phenomenal early international career will mean the skilful Welsh back needs no introductions.
Likelihood of leaving: Relegated teams are sadly the best to prey off for big clubs, and Hook looks eager to leave for a top-league side in order to make a visible bid to be in Wales’ World Cup squad next year.
Who should sign them: A big team looking for a solid 10. Rumours have suggested many clubs are in the race to sign him, from promoted Lyon, to his former side Ospreys, to even Super 15 clubs. Where Hook ends up is to be unseen, but with Gatland hoping more of his internationals stay in Wales, a return to Ospreys (a side who have earned their spot in the new, illustrious Champions Cup) seems the most likely.
Name: Theuns Kotze
What they offer: I wrote an article previously on this site about a Namibian fly-half ready for top level rugby. He impressed with his eye-catching, all-round performances against big opposition such as Wales and Fiji. Kotze has the complete package: solid kicking out of hand, and an attacking mind-set backed up with pace.
Likelihood of Leaving: Kotze isn’t playing for a Top League club, and I see no reason why he wouldn’t want to play with the big boys weak in, weak out to prepare for a possible World Cup campaign if the Namibians can confirm qualification.
Who should sign them: The only important feature that Kotze misses is consistent goal-kicking. Hopefully a club with a goal-kicker in another position (such as Worcester, who have full back Chris Pennell as a points machine) can sign him, so he can concentrate at what the Namibian rugby hero does best.
Name: Ihaia West
Club: Auckland Blues
What they offer: A sublime running game, a player who can create something out of nothing
Likelihood of Leaving: There are some doubts about whether West would want to leave New Zealand, as he may have the Kiwi dream of putting on an All Blacks shirt, and therefore may want to stay in New Zealand. However, there is a chance he would leave, considering he isn’t the Blues first choice, and wasn’t even in their original Super Rugby squad.
Who should sign them: Again, the man who opened the eyes of rugby fans at the ITM cup may want to stay in New Zealand for the All Black dream, so perhaps another Kiwi franchise who would give him more starts would the best option.
I often brag to my mates that I predicted Leeds (at the time) centre Luther Burrell would be an exceptional signing, and nobody believes me. Here is hoping one these guys will get signed and flourish, and they can all owe me a beer!