10 best rugby signings this season includg Englandtar Franc
2022-12-29

A Tongan terror tearing up the Premiership, a Wales prospect thriving at a direct rival and an England international making waves in Montpellier feature among rugbys best signings so far this season

Rugby unionis quickly catching up tofootballin its treatment oftransfers, with club-hopping gradually becoming a more accepted aspect of the modern sport.

But not all signings produce to the level theyre expected, and it can often be the highest-profile movers that have the furthest to fall if they fail to meet expectations.

Likewise, under-the-radar transfers have the capacity to surprise the most, a number of whom make the cut as some of the best-performing signings thus far in the 2021/22 campaign.

Looking at this past summers business in thePremiership, United Rugby Championship and Frances Top 14,Mirror Sportconsiders who among those trading allegiances have impressed most following their first few months in new surroundings.

Crashing and bounding his way into contention as arguably the best piece of business in the Premiership this past off-season,Waspslock Vaea Fifita has taken to Englands top tier like the proverbial duck to water.

The 12-capNew Zealandinternationalwho was born in Tonga and qualifies to swap Test teamsnext year under World Rugbys new eligibility lawshas thrived since moving to Coventry after six years with the Hurricanes in Wellington.

Fifita, 29, has added all the line-breaking, ball-offloading talents one might expect of a 65, 17-stone former All Black, but its his surprising turn of pace once he gets in stride thats led to two tries in his first eight games for Wasps.

Who do you think has been the best rugby signing this season? Let us know in thecomments section.

How does one respond after losing one of the best flankers rugby has ever produced in Jerome Kaino? If youre Toulouse, you go to a direct rival in Castres and sign one of Frances major up-and-comers named Anthony Jelonch.

Almost a carbon copy of the New Zealand great in physical dimensions, Jelonch has scored four tries in nine appearances for the reigning Top 14 andChampions Cuptitleholders, adding to a back row that had few weaknesses already.

Its indicative of Will Rowlands impact since moving to Newport that his contribution hasnt just been felt by Dragons, but also by aWalesside so desperately seeking out the successor to a certainAlun Wyn Jones.

The 68 locks move to Rodney Parade from Wasps always looked like something of a coup, and despite the fact Dragons are still sorely lacking in results, he hasnt failed to disappoint as a vital pack addition.

One of two South African investments that have worked out mightily well forNorthampton Saintsso far this season, former Stormers powerhouse Juarno Augustus wasted little time in bolting his way into Chris Boyds line-up.

After a transition phase, the 116-kilogram juggernaut known as Trokkie now looks relatively immovable as the Saints No. 8 of choice, bouncing off defenders for fun in much the same fashion as he did back in Newlands.

The return of a fit-again Teimana Harrison will add a new level of competition for the 24-year-old, but its possible Premiership title contenders Northampton have stumbled on a back-row staple for some years to come.

It almost seems unfair just how blessed Wales are when it comes to back-row options, and Ospreys marvel Jac Morgan is but the latest openside sensation who looks ready for senior honours.

In truth, the recruit from Scarlets could feel aggrieved his chance didnt come in the autumn, but such is the level of competition in his specialist area of the pack.

Scarlets reasoning their own strength in depth at openside led to Morgan chasing his first-team opportunities in Swansea, where the 21-year-old has only improved his all-action game studying under Justin Tupiric.

Knowing that first-choice fly-half Handre Pollard would effectively miss the first half of this season, Montpellier head coach Philippe Saint-Andre set his sights high in sourcing a back-up with first-rate potential in Benettons Paolo Garbisi.

The effects have been tremendous, too, as Les Cistes have gone from last seasons 10th-place finish to third in the Top 14 heading into Christmas, suggesting there is indeed cause for hope whenPollard joins Leicester Tigers next year.

Garbisi, 21, stands out as a genuinely classy prospect amidItalys squad and is currently one of only five players to have accrued 100 points in the Top 14 this term, playing a saviour role as Montpellier have stormed back into title contention.

Japan has increased its scope in recent years as something of a lucrative haven for the elite, but Benhard Janse van Rensburgs success atLondon Irishis proof theres valuable deals to be done on behalf of the European suitors as well.

The former Sharks and Cheetahs centre has slotted in well among Declan Kidneys ranks following a short stint at Green Rockets Tokatsu, and the 24-year-old is starting to add more attacking menace to his superb defensive skill-set.

Courtnall Skosan - Lions to Northampton Saints

Northampton Saints signing Courtnall Skosan has scored nine tries in first eight outings for the club

Courtnall Skosan has spoken openly of how well his family have fit into English life since leaving South Africa in the summer, and his on-field performances are also the mark of a man whos at ease in his surroundings.

Fans at Franklins Gardens will agree the former Lions starcapped 12 times for theSpringbokshas adapted well with Northampton Saints, having crossed the whitewash nine times in his first eight appearances for the Premiership outfit.

That included adebut hat-trickagainst Worcester Warriors and scores in back-to-back Champions Cup fixtures, cementing his spot as one of the new danger men starring among Europes elite.

Garbisi isnt the only new face at GGL Stadium who has helped turn Montpelliers fortunes under formerFrancechief Philippe Saint-Andre this season, a feat in which twice-capped England international Zach Mercer can also say hes had a major hand.

Its far less common for English players to cross the Channel for experience in the Top 14, but Mercer is thriving after hisBathexit this summer and has few reasons for regretespecially given his old sides struggles at the base of the Premiership since he left.

Mercer, 24, said he opted for change after not hearing from England boss Eddie Jones for a long time, and the call looks justified after he has featured prominently for Montpellier and impressed as their first-choice No. 8.

Adam Hastings has transformed Gloucesters fortunes, with the club losing just once in seven Premiership games since he took over as starting 10

Adam Hastings first Premiership stint with Bath may have been fairly unremarkable, but after honing his craft with Glasgow Warriors for four seasons, the Scotland international looks a different quantity altogether atGloucester.

While it would be unfair to blame fellow fly-half Lloyd Evans for the fact the Cherry and Whites started their Premiership season 0-2, there has also been a marked improvement since Hastings took the No. 10 jersey in Week 3.

Only four players in Englands top tier have more than his 69 points this term despite starting late, and Hastingsson ofBritish and Irish Lionslegend Gavinlooks the royal heir afterDanny Ciprianileft midway through the last campaign.

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