We take a look at nine of the absolute best signings rugby clubs from around the world have made in recent memory…
1.Jonny Wilkinson – Toulon
Jonny Wilkinson is one of the very few Englishmen to have been embraced in France like one of their own. The fans of Toulon absolutely fell in love with the former Newcastle Falcons star after he saw out the latter years of his career in the rugby mad town. Toulon took a gamble on Wilkinson given his injury issues, however it paid off big time.
2.Isa Nacewa – Leinster
Nacewa will go down as one of the all time greats in Leinster’s history and it’s not hard to see why. You only have to look at the response fans and players had to the announcement he was coming back in 2015 to see how highly thought of he is. Nacewa has proved to be a huge hit both on and off the pitch conducting himself as the model professional
3.Jason Robinson – Sale Sharks
Whilst most fans will remember Robinson for his exploits with England and the Lions, Sale fans will remember him just as fondly for his time at the club. Robinson proved to be one of the all time great cross-coders and will go down as one of Sale’s best ever signings. Not only was a star on the pitch, but he had an ability to light up a game like very few others can.
4.Ruan Pienaar – Ulster
Springbok scrum half Pienaar has become one of the most pivotal figures at Ulster since signing, and you only have to look at how he has come back into Springbok contention in recent years to see how well he is playing for the Ulstermen. A key leader on the pitch who has played 9 and 10 with distinction, he will be hard to replace when he eventually moves on.
5.Nick Evans – Harlequins
Evans has been desperately unlucky to have come through at the same time as the incredible Dan Carter. Had it not been for this rivalry for the All Blacks 10 shirt, Evans may never have set foot inside the Stoop. As it is, Evans’ bad luck is Harlequins gain given the incredible contributions he is making to the side, even has he approaches his mid-30’s.
6.David Pocock – Brumbies
Pocock’s game time for the Brumbies was severely limited during his first few seasons after signing in 2013 given his injury issues, but he is already making up for lost time. Pocock is arguably the best player in the world right now and is proving a key figure this season already as the Brumbies push for the 2016 Super Rugby title.
7.Thomas Waldrom – Exeter Chiefs
Waldrom look a little out of place amongst some of the names on this list, however the Exeter Chiefs man has to be one of the best signings in Premiership history. He is continually topping try scoring charts and has an incredible ability to get over the gainline given he certainly doesn’t look like a professional rugby player.
8.Israel Folau – Waratahs
Another cross-coder who has had a huge impact on union – the Waratahs signing of Folau at present is possibly only second to Robinson at Sale. Since joining the Australian franchise, Folau has gone on to be a pivotal figure in their recent Super Rugby success and has firmly established himself as one of the Wallabies star performers.
9.Samu Manoa – Northampton Saints
Northampton Saints plucked Manoa out of nowhere and helped establish him as one of the best number 8’s in the world. He was a monster for Northampton and a key figure in their recent Premiership winning season. He has since moved on to Toulon where injuries have restricted him to just a handful of appearances.