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Aviva Premiership Transfer Round-up and Review 2015/16

  • Premiership season kicks off next Friday night
  • Reigning champions Saracens make only four additions over the summer
  • Newly promoted Worcester add 18 players to their senior squad as they attempt to avoid the drop

With the Premiership kicking off in just over a week, we here at RUCK thought it timely to get updated with all the ingoings and outgoings by the 12 clubs during the summer.

Saracens were the least busy with just four new faces while newly-promoted Worcester have recruited an incredible 18 new players to their senior squad as they attempt bravely to beat the drop.

Tell us below who you think has done the best business!


Bath 

Players in

  • Fiji Nikola Matawalu from Scotland Glasgow Warriors
  • Wales Rhys Priestland from Wales Scarlets
  • England Tom Dunn promoted from Academy
  • England Charlie Ewels promoted from Academy
  • England Tom Homer from England London Irish
  • Wales Jonathan Evans from Wales Newport Gwent Dragons
  • England Jeff Williams from England England Sevens

Players out

  • Wales Paul James to Wales Ospreys
  • Wales Gavin Henson to England Bristol Rugby
  • England Olly Woodburn to England Exeter Chiefs
  • England Micky Young to England Newcastle Falcons
  • England Dave Sisi to England London Irish (season-loan)
  • England Will Skuse to England London Welsh
  • England Richard Lane to England Jersey
  • Ireland Peter Stringer to England Sale Sharks
  • England Carl Fearns to France Lyon
  • England Ben Williams retired

Transfer Review
Bath have added exciting Fiji scrum-half Nikola Matawalu to their squad and they will be thrilled with his performances during the Rugby World Cup as he has demonstrated on the grandest stage his precise passing and dynamic running. Wales’ fly-half Rhys Priestland may also prove to be an excellent addition with the number 10 giving George Ford real competition for the number 10 shirt.
Rating: Progressive 7/10


Exeter Chiefs

Players in

  • England Geoff Parling from England Leicester Tigers
  • England Olly Woodburn from England Bath Rugby
  • Italy Michele Campagnaro from Italy Benetton Treviso
  • Scotland Ollie Atkins from Scotland Edinburgh Rugby
  • South Africa Shaun Malton from England Nottingham
  • England Will Hooley from England Northampton Saints
  • England Harry Williams from England Jersey
  • Australia Julian Salvi from England Leicester Tigers
  • England Josh Jones from England St Helens
  • England Jonny Hill from England Gloucester Rugby
  • England James Short from England London Irish

Players out

  • Wales Tom James to Wales Cardiff Blues
  • England Greg Bateman to England Leicester Tigers
  • Australia Dean Mumm to Australia NSW Waratahs
  • England Kieran Davies to England Nottingham
  • Tonga Fetu’u Vainikolo to France Oyonnax
  • England Joel Conlon to England Saracens
  • Wales Ceri Sweeney to Wales Pontypridd RFC
  • England James Scaysbrook retired
  • England Will Carrick-Smith to England London Scottish

Transfer Review
The additions of England and Lions lock Geoff Parling as well as Italy’s star centre Michele Campagnaro will significantly strengthen Exeter’s squad ahead of the upcoming Premiership season as they look to build upon their fifth-place finish last term. The signing of 22-year-old Josh Jones from St Helens will also be an interesting move as the back-row becomes the latest cross-code star.
Rating: Well thought out 8/10


Gloucester

Players in

  • New Zealand Tom Marshall from New Zealand Chiefs
  • England Henry Purdy promoted from Academy
  • New Zealand Jeremy Thrush from New Zealand Hurricanes
  • Australia Bill Meakes promoted from Academy
  • England Paul Doran-Jones from England Harlequins
  • Ireland Paddy McAllister from France Aurillac
  • Wales Nicky Thomas from Wales Ospreys
  • New Zealand Willi Heinz from New Zealand Crusaders
  • England Tom Lindsay from England Wasps
  • England Tom Hicks promoted from Academy
  • England Matt Protheroe from England Hartpury College R.F.C.
  • England Callum Braley promoted from Academy
  • Wales Steph Reynolds promoted from Academy

Players out

  • England Dan Robson to England Wasps
  • Wales Aled Thomas to Wales Scarlets
  • Tonga Aleki Lutui to England Ampthill
  • England Tom Palmer to Italy Benetton Treviso
  • Wales Rory Bartle to England London Scottish
  • England Jonny Hill to England Exeter Chiefs
  • England Shaun Knight to Wales Newport Gwent Dragons
  • Ireland Shane Monahan to Ireland Munster
  • Tonga Sila Puafisi to Scotland Glasgow Warriors

Transfer Review
Gloucester has failed to attract any big name signings but will have been pleased to have held onto many of their major stars such as Jonny May and Greig Laidlaw following a disappointing ninth-place finish last term. The addition of 6ft 6in lock Jeremy Thrush, who has won 11  caps for the All Blacks is probably their best and most exciting signing.
Rating:  Underwhelming 4/10


Harlequins 

Players in

  • Australia James Horwill from Australia Queensland Reds
  • England Matt Shields from England Darlington Mowden Park
  • Wales Adam Jones from Wales Cardiff Blues
  • Scotland Tim Visser from Scotland Edinburgh Rugby
  • Wales Owen Evans from Wales Newport Gwent Dragons
  • South Africa Tim Swiel from South Africa Sharks
  • Samoa Winston Stanley from New Zealand Highlanders
  • Wales Jamie Roberts from France Racing 92
  • New Zealand Mat Luamanu from Italy Benetton Treviso

Players out

  • England Paul Doran-Jones to England Gloucester Rugby
  • England Joe Trayfoot to England London Irish
  • England George Robson to France Oyonnax
  • England Ugo Monye retired
  • Fiji Asaeli Tikoirotuma to England London Irish
  • England Darryl Marfo to England London Welsh
  • England Tom Williams retired
  • England Tom Casson to England Yorkshire Carnegie
  • England Jordan Burns to England Bedford Blues
  • England Jordan Turner-Hall retired

Transfer Review
Quins significant moves saw them recruit mature heads in Jame Roberts and Tim Visser. Roberts, who is a Wales and British Lions international will add steel to their midfield while Scotlands’s speedster Visser, who scored 345 points in 130 games for Edinburgh, will guarantee them tries. This will be crucial after Quins were only able to touch down 45 last season with the bottom of the pile London Welsh being the only club to cross the whitewash less. The two are without a doubt fantastic additions and should help them end up higher than their eighth-place finish last season.
Rating: Fantastic 9/10


Leicester Tigers

Players in

  • Tonga Opeti Fonua from England London Welsh
  • Zimbabwe Mike Williams from England Worcester Warriors
  • New Zealand Brendon O’Connor from New Zealand Blues
  • Australia Peter Betham from Australia NSW Waratahs
  • New Zealand Michael Fitzgerald from New Zealand Chiefs
  • Australia Lachlan McCaffrey from England London Welsh
  • New Zealand Jono Kitto from New Zealand Chiefs
  • England Greg Bateman from England Exeter Chiefs
  • England Dominic Barrow from England Newcastle Falcons
  • England George Catchpole promoted from Academy
  • Samoa Aniseko Sio promoted from Academy

Players out

  • England Jamie Gibson to England Northampton Saints
  • England Geoff Parling to England Exeter Chiefs
  • England Neil Briggs to England Sale Sharks
  • Argentina Pablo Matera to Argentina Pampas XV
  • England Louis Deacon retired
  • United States Blaine Scully to Wales Cardiff Blues
  • England Tom Price to Wales Scarlets
  • New Zealand Brad Thorn retired
  • New Zealand Javiah Pohe to France US Carcassonne
  • New Zealand Scott Hamilton to England Coventry RFC
  • Italy Robert Barbieri to Italy Benetton Treviso
  • United States Greg Peterson to Scotland Glasgow Warriors
  • Australia Julian Salvi to England Exeter Chiefs
  • England Tom Bristow to England Wasps
  • New Zealand Jack Whetton to France US Nevers
  • France David Mele to France Toulouse
  • Wales Rhys Williams to England Moseley
  • England Anthony Allen retired
  • New Zealand Terrence Hepetema to New Zealand Bay of Plenty

Transfer Review
Leicester haven’t followed up their third place finish last season with many significant additions but have lost 19 senior players, which includes England international Geoff Parling, over the summer with only 11 new faces joining their senior squad. Tigers fans should though be excited by the signing of pacey winger Peter Betham, who scored 11 tries in 33 games for the Waratahs during his time with the Super Rugby side.
Rating: Up and down 6/10


London Irish

Players in

  • New Zealand Ben Franks from New Zealand Hurricanes
  • Scotland Sean Maitland from Scotland Glasgow Warrior
  • Australia Brendan McKibbin from Australia NSW Waratahs
  • England Joe Trayfoot from England Harlequins
  • England Dominic Waldouck from England Northampton Saints
  • England Dave Sisi from England Bath Rugby (season-loan)
  • England Matt Symons from New Zealand Chiefs
  • England Tom Cruse from England Rotherham Titans
  • Ireland Eoin Sheriff from England Saracens
  • Fiji Asaeli Tikoirotuma from England Harlequins
  • England Gerard Ellis promoted from Acad
  • South Africa Richard Palframan promoted from Academy
  • England Tom Fowlie promoted from Academy
  • England Tom Smallbone promoted from Academy
  • Wales Rob McCusker from Wales Scarlets

Players out

  • Ireland Tomas O’Leary to Ireland Munster
  • England Tom Homer to England Bath Rugby
  • Scotland Kieran Low to Scotland Glasgow Warriors
  • Ireland Eamonn Sheridan to France Oyonnax
  • England Sean Cox retired
  • Australia Myles Dorrian to England Bedford Blues
  • England Guy Armitage to England London Welsh
  • England Harry Allen to England London Welsh
  • Samoa Daniel Leo to England London Welsh
  • Ireland Jamie Hagan to Australia Melbourne Rebels
  • England James Short to England Exeter Chiefs
  • New Zealand Michael Mayhew to New Zealand Waikato
  • England Matt Parr released

Transfer Review
The Exiles were spectacularly unspectacular last season, scoring just 45 tries, so will be hoping Scotland and British Lions international Sean Maitland can hit the ground running after the wing joined this summer from Glasgow Warriors. The addition of scrum-half Brendan McKibbin from the Waratahs will also be key to them hopefully increasing the number of tries they score this season with his ability to recycle the ball quickly at the breakdown.
Rating: Radical 7/10


Newcastle Falcons

Players in

  • England Chris Harris promoted from Academy
  • England Micky Young from England Bath Rugby
  • New Zealand Mike Delany from France Clermont Auvergne
  • England Marcus Watson from England England Sevens
  • Tonga Sonatane Takulua from New Zealand Northland
  • England Simon Hammersley promoted from Academy
  • England Ben Harris from England Yorkshire Carnegie
  • Tonga Taione Vea from England London Welsh
  • Scotland Jon Welsh from Scotland Glasgow Warriors
  • Tonga Nili Latu from Japan NEC Green Rockets
  • Italy Giovanbattista Venditti from Italy Zebre
  • Ireland Paddy Ryan from France Libournes
  • England Mouritz Botha from South Africa Sharks
  • England Sean Robinson promoted from Academy
  • United States Todd Clever from United States Old Mission Beach Athletic Club

Players out

  • England Kieran Brookes to England Northampton Saints
  • Scotland Mike Blair to Scotland Glasgow Warriors
  • England Andy Saull to England Yorkshire Carnegie
  • England Ben Morris to England Nottingham
  • Scotland Phil Godman retired
  • England Chris York to England Ealing Trailfinders
  • Ireland Danny Barnes to England Ealing Trailfinders
  • England Dominic Barrow to England Leicester Tigers
  • England Andy Davies to England Rotherham Titans
  • England Mark Irving to Italy Viadana
  • England Rory Clegg to Scotland Glasgow Warriors
  • England Lee Smith to England Wakefield Trinity Wildcats
  • England Oliver Tomaszczyk to Wales Ospreys
  • England Noah Cato released
  • Samoa Jamie Helleur released
  • Wales Warren Fury released
  • England Sean Brown released
  • England James Christie released
  • Tonga Uili Kolo’ofai released

Transfer Review
Dean Richards would have been disappointed to lose England international prop Kieran Brookes but swiftly replaced him with the experienced Scotland international Jon Welsh. The signings of Samoa Captain Nili Latu and England Sevens star Marcus Watson also brings a new dimension to the Falcons squad. Newcastle fans will have also been thrilled to see young stars Chris Harris and Simon Hammersley commit their futures to the club.
Rating: Progressive 7/10


Northampton Saints

Players in

  • Ireland JJ Hanrahan from Ireland Munster
  • England Kieran Brookes from England Newcastle Falcons
  • England Jamie Gibson from England Leicester Tigers
  • England Michael Paterson from England Sale Sharks
  • England Tom Kessell from England Cornish Pirates
  • South Africa Pat Howard from South Africa Stormers
  • England Paul Hill from England Yorkshire Carnegie
  • Wales Sion Bennett from Wales Scarlets
  • South Africa Victor Matfield from South Africa Bulls

Players out

  • Australia Salesi Ma’afu to France Toulon
  • United States Samu Manoa to France Toulon
  • England Phil Dowson to England Worcester Warriors
  • England Dominic Waldouck to England London Irish
  • England Will Hooley to England Exeter Chiefs
  • England Alex Day to England Cornish Pirates
  • England Joel Hodgson to England Yorkshire Carnegie
  • Scotland Tom Ryder to England Yorkshire Carnegie
  • United States Cam Dolan to Wales Cardiff Blues
  • England Tom Mercey released
  • England Josh Skelcey released

Transfer Review
Saints will have been disappointed to lose Salesi Ma’afu and Samu Manoa to big-spenders Toulon but will be reasonably pleased with their recruitment over the summer. The addition of talismanic Springbok lock Victor Matfield as well as England prop Kieran Brookes will add an extra gear to their already dominant pack. The signing of fly-half JJ Hanrahan amongst others also means the Northampton squad looks stronger than ever with competition for places being hellish across all positions.
Rating: Purposeful 8/10


Sale Sharks

Players in

  • England Neil Briggs from England Leicester Tigers
  • Ireland Peter Stringer from England Bath Rugby
  • New Zealand Bryn Evans from France Biarritz Olympique
  • England James Mitchell promoted from Academy
  • Wales George Nott promoted from Academy
  • England Ciaran Parker promoted from Academy
  • South Africa Brian Mujati from France Racing 92
  • England Nev Edwards from England Rosslyn Park

Players out

  • Wales Marc Jones to England Bristol Rugby
  • England Mark Cueto retired
  • England Michael Paterson to England Northampton Saints
  • England Will Cliff to England Bristol Rugby
  • England Nathan Fowles to Scotland Edinburgh Rugby
  • Scotland Nathan Hines retired
  • England Andy Forsyth to England Yorkshire Carnegie
  • Italy Alberto De Marchi to Italy Benetton Treviso
  • Italy Luke McLean to Italy Benetton Treviso
  • England Darren Fearn to England Darlington Mowden Park

Transfer Review
Sale Sharks will look to build upon their successful season last term by on the main sticking with the group that served them so well over the last year. They have though added some much-needed steel to the front row with the addition of veteran prop Brian Mujati from Racing 92.
Rating: Reserved 5/10


Saracens

Players in

  • Italy Samuela Vunisa from Italy Zebre
  • South Africa Michael Rhodes from South Africa Stormers
  • England Maro Itoje promoted from Academy
  • England Joel Conlon from England Exeter Chiefs

Players out

  • Ireland Eoin Sheriff to England London Irish
  • England David Strettle to France Clermont Auvergne
  • Samoa James Johnston to England Wasps
  • United States Thretton Palamo to England London Welsh (season-loan)
  • South Africa Nick de Jager to South Africa Blue Bulls

Transfer Review
After winning the 2015 Premiership final Saracens have been muted with very few incomings and outgoings. Fans will be excited to see Maro Itoje, who has stepped up to the senior squad, again after the young lock starred in the back end of last season. The signing of Italian number 8 Samuela Vunisa is also an ingenious addition due to the combination of his speed, ball-carrying ability, physical strength and ability at the breakdown.
Rating: Muted 5/10


Wasps

Players in

  • New Zealand Jimmy Gopperth from Ireland Leinster
  • England Dan Robson from England Gloucester Rugby
  • New Zealand Frank Halai from New Zealand Blues
  • Ireland Brendan Macken from Ireland Leinster
  • England Tom Bristow from England Leicester Tigers
  • Scotland Jamie Stevenson from England London Scottish
  • Ireland James Downey from Scotland Glasgow Warriors
  • Australia George Smith from France Lyon
  • Samoa James Johnston from England Saracens
  • England Alex Rieder from England Rotherham Titans
  • England Alex Lundberg promoted from Academy
  • England Tom Howe promoted from Academy
  • New Zealand Charles Piutau from New Zealand Blues

Players out

  • England Tom Varndell to England Bristol Rugby
  • Tonga William Helu to Scotland Edinburgh Rugby
  • England Ed Jackson to Wales Newport Gwent Dragons
  • England Charlie Davies to Wales Newport Gwent Dragons
  • England Tom Lindsay to England Gloucester Rugby
  • Wales Will Taylor to Wales Scarlets
  • Wales Jack Moates to England Jersey
  • England Oli Evans to England Jersey
  • United States Tom Bliss to England Ealing Trailfinders (season-loan)
  • Scotland Sam James to England Bedford Blues
  • Wales Martyn Thomas to England London Welsh
  • England Gus Jones to England London Welsh
  • England Glyn Hughes to England Moseley
  • England Buster Lawrence to England Moseley
  • Wales John Yapp retired
  • England Chris Bell retired
  • England Andy Goode retired

Transfer Review
It’s been a very busy summer for Wasps, with the main addition being of experienced fly-half Jimmy Gopperth, who joins from Leinster to battle with Alex Lozowski and Scotland international Ruaridh Jackson for the number 10 shirt following fan favourite Andy Goode’s retirement. Supporters would have been also been disappointed with the departure of 29-year-old wing Tom Vandell, who made 125 appearances for the Premiership outfit, scoring 350 points. They will be hoping a fit again Christian Wade can fill that void and then some.
Rating: Transition period 6/10


Worcester

Players in

  • England Andy Short from England Bristol Rugby
  • Italy Derrick Appiah from Italy Mogliano
  • England Phil Dowson from England Northampton Saints
  • England Carl Kirwan from England London Welsh
  • Scotland Tom Heathcote from Scotland Edinburgh Rugby
  • England Luke Baldwin from England Bristol Rugby
  • Wales Sam Lewis from Wales Ospreys
  • Australia Cooper Vuna from Japan Toshiba Brave Lupus
  • Samoa Na’ama Leleimalefaga from France Montpellier
  • England Darren Barry from England Cornish Pirates
  • New Zealand Bryce Heem from New Zealand Chiefs
  • England Mike Daniels promoted from Academy
  • England Tiff Eden promoted from Academy
  • England Christian Scotland-Williamson promoted from Academy
  • Zimbabwe Marco Mama from England Bristol Rugby (season-loan)
  • Ireland Donncha O’Callaghan from Ireland Munster
  • Fiji Tevita Cavubati from Wales Ospreys
  • South Africa Wynand Olivier from France Montpellier

Players out

  • Wales Andries Pretorius retired
  • Zimbabwe Mike Williams to England Leicester Tigers
  • Romania Alex Gordas to Romania CSM București
  • Australia Sam Windsor to Ireland Ulster
  • Argentina Agustin Creevy to Argentina Argentina (Super Rugby)
  • Argentina Leonardo Senatore released
  • Scotland Jack Cosgrove to Scotland Edinburgh Rugby
  • England Josh Drauniniu to England London Welsh
  • England George Porter to England Ealing Trailfinders
  • England Rob O’Donnell to England Yorkshire Carnegie
  • England Richard de Carpentier to England England Sevens
  • England Josh Watkins to England England Sevens
  • England James Percival to France Grenoble
  • England Shay Kerry to France Oyonnax
  • Tonga Ofa Fainga’anuku to France Bayonne
  • England James Stephenson to England Ealing Trailfinders
  • Argentina Ignacio Mieres to France US Dax
  • Wales Jonathan Thomas retired

Transfer Review
It’s been a busy summer for Dean Ryan at Worcester as he tries to get his newly promoted team ready for the start of the Premiership season. They know the key to competing in the top flight is a solid scrum, therefore they have recruited props Na’ama Leleimalefaga and Derrick Appiah to widen their front row options. The signing of experienced Premiership player Phil Dowson, as well as the addition of former Springbok centre Wynand Olivier, may also be key to their possible survival.
Rating: Resourceful 7.5/10