The season still has plenty of time to go, yet a raft of signing announcements have been boasted for next season. With some cracking signings, the Gallagher Premiership will be oozing with star-studded squads. Here, we highlight ten of the most exciting new additions across England’s top division:
*Whilst London Irish are not yet confirmed as a Premiership team, we have included their signings as they are overwhelming favourites to get promoted.
10. Curtis Rona (London Irish)
You need to spend big to survive the Premiership, and the probable Championship winners have brought in plenty of Top class players. From Scotland Prop Alan Dell to Experienced Australia Scrum half Nick Phipps, the Exiles are making much needed additions to the squad. One of their most significant signings is undoubtedly Australia international Curtis Rona. One of Irish’s major concerns in their last Premiership campaign was conceding first phase tries through the centre. Having the 6 ft 4, 16 stone Wallaby in the midfield could be part of the solution. Rona also runs in a similar style to Israel Folau, and could be an essential source of go forward ball.
9. Sean O’Brien (London Irish)
One of the most talked about signings is also heading to Irish in the shape of the legendary Ireland and British and Irish Lions flanker. Would be higher in the list if it wasn’t for his major injury concerns, O’ Brien could be a prominent ball carrier and breakdown weapon for the Exiles. The openside also brings a wealth of winning experience to a side famous for bringing young players through, and could be crucial for premiership survival.
8. Matteo Minozzi (Wasps)
Losing top internationals in Elliot Daly and Willie Le Roux has been a major source of anxiety for Wasps fans, but they have certainly signed some classy backs to replace them. For a struggling Italy side last year, Minozzi showed how good his attacking play is. The Zebre player has scorching pace, and some delicate footwork to match. Wasps have been famous for an exciting attacking game, and Minozzi truly fits that mould.
7. Melani Nanai (Worcester)
Surely one of the best players in New Zealand who isn’t an All Black, Nanai is a rangy runner who plays across the back 3. He has pace and strength a plenty, and will add extra class to the Worcester backline. Expect the Samoan to regularly be on the score sheet at Sixways.
6. Nathan Hughes (Bristol)
Alongside the unit Dave Attwood, the Bears have signed the England number 8 to really beef up their pack. Gaining international recognition after superb ball carrying for Wasps, the Fijian-born back row has a superb work rate that often isn’t given the credit he deserves. Hughes’ statistics on criteria such as carries and tackles regularly hit high numbers. Pat Lam has spoken about European ambitions for the club, and these additions are a step in the right direction.
5. Malakai Fekitoa (Wasps)
If you need to replace some stardust in the backline, Fekitoa is certainly your man. The All Black has a mean step and capable of breaking defences from anywhere. He hasn’t hit the glorious heights he had in New Zealand with a struggling Toulon side, and will be looking for greener pastures in Coventry. Like other former internationals on this list, his availability during the International periods adds even more value, as Dai Young will still have Fekitoa’s magic when the likes of Minozzi are away.
4. Jordan Taufua (Leicester Tigers)
Hasnt been one of the most lauded signings for next season, but Taufua is a special coup for the Tigers. It’s only the miracle of New Zealand’s rugby depth that this man isn’t an All Black, as Taufua is a terrific well-rounded flanker. He is one of those forwards who seems to be everywhere, and is a real nuisance at the breakdown. Pundits across the board have felt disappointed with the Tigers pack losing its fearsome aura, and the Crusader is likely to add consistently class performances at Welford Road.
3. Elliot Daly (Saracens)
As if Saracens needed yet another boost to win trophies, they now have England international Elliot Daly. Rumour has it that the agile Wasp is signed to play 13 for the Premiership Champions, which many rate as his best position. But his utility will bode well, as pivotal figures in the Sarries backline are approaching their late 20s/early 30s. His exceptional play with ball in hand and freakish long-range goal kicks make him a major asset to any side.
2. Owen Franks (Northampton Saints)
In a new era for the Saints, a leader such as Owen Franks could prove so valuable. A double World Cup winner, Franks offers the open play momentum of a back row, but has also drastically improved his scrummaging. In the past, the scrum was seen as an Achilles heel for New Zealand when facing Northern Hemisphere sides. Franks’ upgraded technique has helped the All Blacks forge a formidable front row capable of out-scrummaging the best teams. His invaluable experience and variety of talents could help continue Chris Boyd’s new dawn at Franklin’s Gardens.
1. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs)
Hardly needs an introduction as one of the most exciting attacking full backs in the world. Against top European opposition this season, Exeter have had the possession to win games, but lacked that ability to unlock the best defences. If anyone will create something from nothing to score tries, it’s the scintillating Scotsman. The prospect of Stuart Hogg linking up with the likes of Henry Slade and Jack Nowell is one that will leave rugby fans licking their lips.
Written by Connor Dickins