The new Premiership season kicks off tonight and fans are undoubtedly in for another exciting season, with plenty of ups and downs throughout.
Saracens will be looking to defend their title but will be heavily challenged by the likes of Northampton and Bath, but what young stars can lead their sides to glory this year?
Here we look at five young players who have the ability to set the league on fire in the upcoming season.
Maro Itoje (Saracens)
The lock-cum-flanker has already burst onto the scene, helping his club side win the Premiership title in 2015, playing 15 times in the process. He was even called up to Stuart Lancaster’s World Cup squad but did not make the final cut.
He has achieved so much already at such a young age, even captaining the under 20 side to World Cup glory just last year. Itoje has already played for the England Saxons, making his debut in January against the Ireland Wolfhounds.
He is an immensely powerful forward who has a terrific burst of pace in him is also a talented all-round sportsman as he represented England Under 17’s at shot put.
Aged just 19-years-old he made his Saracens debut in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, and since he has made it evident he is a player with an enormous future at not just club level but for England.
Jack Clifford (Harlequins)
The versatile forward, born in Brisbane Australia, has been developing his game at Ealing Trailfinders, helping the side claim promotion to the Championship for the new season. He has had two spells as a dual registered player in National League One, including a spell at Esher.
Despite being just 22 years old, he made his debut for Harlequins back in 2012, in the Angelo-Welsh Cup, coming on as a replacement in the 31-30 win over Northampton.
He has impressed at international level for England youth sides, playing 20 times for the U20’s, scoring 35 points. He made his formal breakthrough last season, playing 21 times for Quins, but he is not a player to rest on his laurels. Expect Clifford to push on and improve his game even more next season.
Simon Hammersley (Newcastle Falcons)
After completing an economics degree at Durham University in 2014, Hammersley joined Newcastle immediately after, making his debut in the opening game of the season against Leicester.
The fullback born in 1993 went on to make 25 appearances during his first full season as a professional rugby player, catching the eye after several memorable performances.
The club clearly has high hopes for the player, after he agreed to sign a contract extension back in March, which will keep him at the club till the end of the following season.
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)
England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said Watson has “all the physical attributes you need in a player.” When the nations head coach thinks that highly of you, it catches the attention of the fans and will add to the pressure already on the shoulders of the 21-year-old wing.
However, Watson will thrive under that burden and despite his young age he has already made 50 appearances for Bath and 15 for England. He scored two tries in the World Cup against Uruguay and several more in the warm-up games prior to the competition.
If he can keep developing and progressing the way he has been, England will possess one of the best wings in the world in a few years’ time. This season will be a big year for Watson and his development.
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)
Next year has the potential to be a tremendous season for Luke Cowan-Dickie. The hooker made his breakthrough last term, playing 15 times for Exeter, making his debut against Cavalieri Prato in the Amlin Challenge Cup way back in 2011.
However the 22-year-old started to make his impression on the side in the Premiership last year while also playing 11 times for England U20’s. He has clearly made a good impression after making his senior debut for England as well.
Boss Lancaster said, “the next step for him is to get regular Premiership rugby. I think he’ll come through very quickly once he starts getting game time.” With the words of the national manager ringing in his ears, he will be looking to impress to add to his one cap.