Leicester Tigers and Wasps have both made serious statements this week, signing the Springbok star duo Handre Pollard and Vincent Koch. Pollard, one of the best fly halves in world rugby, will join the Tigers to fill the void left by George Ford’s departure at the end of the season. Koch will leave Saracens to link up with Wasps next season. providing a much needed boost in their front row. So, how influential will these new players be?
Springbok star duo sign for Wasps and Leicester
Leicester Tigers Sign Handre Pollard
When the news broke that George Ford was heading to Sale Sharks at the end of the season, there were murmurs of worry and speculation around the flay half position going forward at Leicester. Though Ford has fallen out of favour with regards to England selection, he’s been pulling the strings sublimely all season for the Tigers.
However, the addition of Pollard will certainly have put minds at ease. Ford has been brilliant, especially over recent months, but he won’t be missed for too long one would think. Handre Pollard will undoubtedly be an immense asset in an already exceptional side, who are still yet to lose a match this season. A player with Handre’s calibre at the helm will surely accelerate them even further into Premiership dominance.
Pollard has a big game temperament that not many 10s in world rugby possess, and he’s still got a long way to go in his career at just 27 years of age. He consistently executes excellent game management, a metronomic boot as well as some wonderful talent with ball in hand. Steering South Africa to winning a World Cup and a Lions tour in the last two years demonstrates just how great he already is.
Whether Leicester can go on to win the Premiership this season of course remains to be seen. However, their current form along with the arrival of Pollard next season makes them a frightening prospect for the rest of the league.
The club is excited to confirm that we will welcome Handré Pollard to Leicester Tigers from next season.
— Leicester Tigers (@LeicesterTigers) December 7, 2021
Wasps Sign Vincent Koch
This is an enormous boost for a team that is struggling so much right now. Wasps have the players and the talent to be a top four side without question, but injuries and poor game management are letting them down constantly. The front row is an area that’s been hit particularly hard due to injuries and players leaving last season.
Wasps have struggled at scrum time in recent months on a regular basis. Despite Tom West’s recent return, injuries to Ben Harris and Tom Cruse aren’t doing them any favours. It’s also evident that they miss Kieran Brookes a great deal at tighthead, who was as solid as they come on the right of the scrum.
Arise, Vincent Koch. The Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok will leave Saracens at the end of the 2021/2022 season, and could well be the best signing Wasps have made in a long time. The 31-year-old has been immense for both club and country for some time now. A world-class tighthead can transform a team’s scrum, and with the set-piece being so vital to success in modern rugby, this can only mean good things going forward for the Coventry-based side.
Koch will also add plenty in the loose. A ferocious carrier of the ball with a serious engine on him, and he’s no stranger to putting some enormous hits in. Much like Pollard, Koch has plenty of big game experience under his belt after winning the World Cup, the Lions tour, and multiple big titles with Saracens. This will play a big part on and off the pitch and should have a real impact on the rest of the team.
✍️ NEW SIGNING…
📢 We are delighted to announce the signing of @vincentkoch1 for next season!
🟡 2019 @rugbyworldcup winner
⚫️ 31 caps @Springboks
🟡 ✖️2⃣ time @ChampionsCup and @premrugby winner
More at 👇 https://t.co/GvncI2WA2z pic.twitter.com/JAxTfc1h2P
— Wasps Rugby (@WaspsRugby) December 9, 2021
Two Fantastic Signings
Which one of the Springbok star duo will be the more influential signing? Pollard may seem the obvious choice due to his vital position and how well he plays there. His style fits Leicester’s game plan perfectly – his ability to unlock the lethal backs at Leicester combined with his suffocating and brutal kicking game will reap huge rewards for the Tigers.
However, no one should underestimate the impact Koch could well have at Wasps. His scrummaging will provide much-needed security at the set-piece, which will allow their electrifying backs to do what they do best. He will be a much-needed figure in the pack, and will provide real star quality alongside top players such as Jack Willis and Joe Launchbury.
Both teams look set to be boosted greatly by these high profile signings, and it will be thrilling to see what they can do in the 2022/2023 season.
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