New Faces in the Gallagher Premiership
With less than a month to go until the new season kicks off, it’s time to start looking ahead for what may be in store. This article will introduce some of the new faces in the Gallagher Premiership. Who will be the next import to the English top tier that takes the league by storm?
Every season there is a merry-go-round of player movements. This season more so than ever. Salary cap rules have led to teams having to really think about their allocation of wages to their squads. Whilst also preparing for an ever grueling season ahead competing domestically and in Europe. This season has seen a lot of players move around the league, but what about the players we have yet to see step foot on the pitches in the Premiership? At time of writing, there will be approximately 57 new faces in the Gallagher Premiership. With origins ranging from Southern Hemisphere through to our BUCS University leagues. Let’s review some of the likely stars to be the best newcomer this season.
Handré Pollard– Leicester Tigers
Joining from the Top 14 Champions Montpellier, Pollard is the 2019 Rugby World Cup highest points scorer as well as a winner. Pollard is joining the reigning Premiership champions with a genuine winning mentality and pedigree. Not only a classy player, but he also looks ready for the physicality of the English top tier. He saw out the entire Rugby World Cup final, scoring 22 points, with a broken eye socket. Filling the boots of George Ford would be a difficult task for most, but Leicester may have recruited one of the few genuine fly halves in the world who will be able to fill that void comfortably. It will be unsurprising if Pollard is battling for top scorer in the league if Leicester continues with their impressive form from last season.
Jack Dunne – Exeter Chiefs
The 6ft 8in lock will be joining the Exeter Chiefs from Leinster. Vying for the shirt vacated by Jonny Hill the English-qualified second row certainly has the stature to fill that spot. Not just brawn but a theoretical physicist degree from Trinity College suggests there are brains too. A former Ireland U-20 international and selected to play for the Barbarians in 2021. The big stage won’t be intimidating to Dunne and the style of play at Sandy Park may well suit. At just 23 years old, game time should give him the platform to grow and develop and could become an important cog in the Exeter forward machine.
Quinn Roux – Bath Rugby
The Ireland international lock joins from the glitz and glam of Toulon. The South African native played for Leinster & Connacht between 2012 – 2021 culminating in 15 caps for Ireland between 2016 & 2020. He has been brought in at late notice as a result of Charlie Ewels knee injury so will be expected to be able to start from the beginning of the season. Roux is renowned for his line-out abilities and being a strong physical presence on the field. His experience and pedigree will be important too, with Bath looking to improve on a relatively disappointing campaign last year. The experience and stature of the likes of Roux will only help the team move forwards both literally and metaphorically.
Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Angus Scott-Young & James Ramm – Northampton Saints
The Saints have moved to bring in a trio of Australian talents, with Salakaia-Loto & Scott-Young joining from the Queensland Reds and James Ramm from the Waratahs. Both Salakaia-Loto and Scott-Young are comfortable loose forwards, fitting into the Saints mold of mobile forwards. Where Scott-Young brings powerful ball carrying that has sometimes been missing from the Saints forwards in the past. Salakaia-Loto has 25 caps for Australia and was called into the Australian Squad to take on the victorious England team in the 2022 Summer Series. James Ramm however is coming in as a rangy winger to offer some size and pace into the Saints exciting back line. Standing 191cm tall and nearly 100kg and England qualified, the 24-year-old winger could be regularly on the end of the exciting backs moves the crowd at Franklins Gardens have been enjoying this season.
The season ahead
There are numerous other new names to keep an eye on in the season ahead too. Magnus Bradbury, the experienced Scottish lock joining Bristol. Exciting scrum half Joe Powell joining London Irish from the Melbourne Rebels. Eduardo Bello, the Argentinian prop brought in to replace the departing Vincent Koch at Saracens. All in all, there is a lot of quality joining the league. The Gallagher Premiership continues to vie to be the best domestic league in the Northern Hemisphere. The quality of the players continues to go up, and with that the quality of the rugby on show will improve too.
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