Premiership Signings of the 2018-19 Season XV

Premiership Signings of the 2018-19 Season XV
  1. Charles Piutau – Bristol Bears

Bristol have made the former All Black rugby’s highest paid player by signing him on a 2-year deal worth £1 million a season. He has been playing some of the best rugby of his career over the past couple of seasons with Ulster, with many believing he is the most effective fullback in Europe at the moment. He can do it all, carrying the 2nd most times in the Pro 14 last season, while also being one of the top offloaders, metre makers and beating the 2nd most defenders in the league. The newly promoted side will hope that he can carry that sort of form through to their first season back in the top tier.


 

  1. Chris Ashton – Sale Sharks

Sale have managed to snap up the most prolific try-scorer in European rugby in what could turn out to be the signing of the summer. Ashton has moved back home after an extremely successful season in the Top 14, with Toulon, where he scored a record-breaking 24 tries in 23 games. He says that being unavailable for England selection, ‘ate away’ at him, and thus he has been released from his Toulon contract, to pursue a place in Eddie Jones World Cup squad. If he can keep up his try-scoring exploits it will be impossible for Jones to leave him out and we may see Sale challenging for a playoff position this year again.

 

  1. Ashley Beck – Worcester Warriors

A signing that may have gone under the radar for many but that is really a coup that may finally get the Warriors out of the relegation battle that they are so used to. Beck has been extremely unlucky with injuries in the past and as a result has only picked up 7 international caps for Wales. A snakey outside centre, in the mould of Conrad Smith, the Warriors will hope that he can create a lot of opportunities for their wide men next season. He has stated that he is up for a ‘new challenge’ given the stage of his career that he is at.

 

  1. Rohan Janse van Rensburg – Sale Sharks

The gargantuan, young Springbok has completed a permanent move to the Sharks following a successful short-term loan deal last season. He scored 3 tries in 8 appearances during his spell at AJ Bell Stadium from November to February. That was obviously enough for Steve Diamond to secure his signature for the upcoming season. The DoR has outlined that van Rensburg is another building block in their desire to be a top-four team.

 

  1. Taqele Naiyaravoro – Northampton Saints

After losing over 12kg during the Super Rugby pre-season the giant wing has been in the form of his life. He has just broken the Waratah’s record for most tries in a season, set by Israel Folau. He has scored 15 tries in 14 games this season and is on track to beat the Super Rugby record for most tries in a season. He is the perfect replacement for George North, after the Saints lost the winger with his move back to Wales. They will certainly be looking to keep the weight off of him next season in the hopes that he will cross the try-line just as much in the Northern Hemisphere.

 

  1. Lima Sopoaga – Wasps

The move that caused Danny Cipriani to be deemed surplus to requirements at the Ricoh Arena has Premiership rugby fans’ moths watering. The prospect of seeing the creative, All Black playmaker strutting his stuff week in and week out is one that we all cannot wait for. He has been tearing it up in Super Rugby lately and Wasps will be hoping that he can get their dangerous backline firing next season, just as Cipriani was doing before. He is set to make £1 million pounds over the course of his two-year contract but at just 26 years old he could be around the Prem for many years to come.

 

  1. Nic Stirzaker – Bristol Bears

A former captain of the Melbourne Rebels, Bristol will be hoping that their new scrum-half can build a good relationship with Madigan and Pisi as they look to start their new stint in the top tier with a bang. After a short-term loan-deal with Sarries last season, Bristol snapped him up. With no Wallabies caps to his name, he could be making Europe his home for a long time yet.

 

  1. Cornell du Preez – Worcester Warriors

The Warriors are shaping up for a stellar season next year with all of these impressive new signings. In the Scottish international they have an aggressive ball-carrier that has the ability to beat the first man almost every time. His offloading abilities get his teammates over the gainline and he is the perfect replacement for David Denton, who struggled to rediscover his form in recent years. The former Southern King enjoyed an up and down spell at Edinburgh in which his biggest achievements included reaching the Challenge Cup final and winning 6 Scotland caps.

 

  1. George Smith – Bristol Bears

Another impressive signing for last year’s Championship winners. Smith is in the twilight of his career but no one can deny that class is permanent. Though he may have lost some of his athleticism that made him such a useful asset when he burst onto the scene, he has a much wiser head on his shoulders now and can still be a menace at the breakdown and in the loose as a result. His experience will be possibly the biggest addition to the Bears changing room, with all of the youngsters keen to learn for the 111 test cap veteran.

 

  1. Brad Shields – Wasps

After being released early from his Hurricanes contract, the flanker experienced his first taste of Northern Hemisphere rugby on England’s summer tour to South Africa. Though the tour didn’t exactly go to plan, it was clear for all to see that Shields definitely has the stuff to compete on the international stage. Wasps will have heard of how hard he worked to learn Eddie Jones systems and will hope that he is just as diligent next season at the Ricoh.

 

  1. Michael Fatialofa – Worcester Warriors

Another former Hurricane that will call the Premiership home next season. He was an integral part of the team that won the Super Rugby title in 2016 and has just returned from knee surgery which may be why the Hurricanes are moving him on. He was told that he was lucky to walk again but he obviously confident that he can get back to his best on the professional stage with this move to England. A physical lock that does the hard graft and is good in the lineout, he will be another crucial cog in the wheel as the Warriors look for a higher finish this season.

 

  1. Franco Mostert – Gloucester

Another hard-working lock that has moved north to make a name for himself. He has made the move to England following a stint in Japan and will be looking to add to his 21 test caps for the Springboks following the rule-change regarding overseas players. A hard ball carrier, with immense pace for a second-row, he breaks the mould for locks in the Premiership. Look for him to be one of Gloucester’s primary ball-carriers in the loose, and to also put in the odd massive shot in defence.

 

  1. Kieran Brookes – Wasps

The tighthead’s abilities are known by Prem fans up and down the country but it is a shame that he has never really broken onto the scene. This will be his 4th Premiership club since his professional career began in 2009.  He is quite athletic for a tighthead and puts in some massive hits around the field in defence, not just filling the role of pillar as many other number 3s would. He is also liable for the odd barnstorming run and his scrummaging abilities are clear for all to see. He will hope that he has finally found his home with Dai Young at Wasps.

 

  1. Harry Thacker – Bristol Bears

With Tom Youngs not looking to be going anywhere anytime soon, Thacker has made the educated decision to move elsewhere to really kickstart his career. He is on the smaller side for a front-row but definitely packs a punch and has been deployed in the back-row in the past as a result. A powerful ball-carrier with amazing footwork for a forward, lets hope that he can get a starting spot in Pat Lam’s Bristol side next season. Then maybe we won’t miss watching Schalk Brits as much as we are expected to.

 

  1. Ruan Dreyer - Gloucester

Another Gloucester signing from the Lions that really whets the appetite. The loosehead joins many of his compatriots at Kingsholm with Ackerman. The former Golden Lion prefers to use his opponents as targets rather than obstacles when carrying the ball, which will mean that he suits the big Gloucester pack perfectly. He is also a very effective scrummager and should be a challenge for even the most experienced tightheads in the league.

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