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Aviva Premiership Rugby ins & outs ahead of 2017-18 campaign

Aviva Premiership Rugby ins & outs ahead of 2017-18 campaign

When the new Aviva Premiership Rugby season gets underway on Friday 1 September, a host of stars will be donning new colours for the very first time.

All 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs have been busy revamping their squads in preparation for the big kick-off, and swathes of top-level talent has entered the League.

British & Irish Lions ace Liam Williams has joined double European Champions Saracens, South Africa scrum-half Faf de Clerk moved to Sale Sharks and Newcastle Falcons recruited Canada’s record try-scorer DTH van der Merwe to name just a few.

There has also been plenty of business conducted between Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs, with Leicester Tigers signing England star George Ford from Bath Rugby and Freddie Burns going in the opposite direction, while veteran prop Petrus Du Plessis has swapped Saracens for newly-promoted London Irish.

Here is your definitive guide to every transfer completed so far.

Bath Rugby

With England fly-half George Ford joining Leicester Tigers, hometown boy Freddie Burns moved in the opposite direction.

Another Bath Rugby signing is another England international in the form of Sam Underhill, who returns to Aviva Premiership Rugby from Ospreys after beginning his career at Gloucester Rugby.

IN: Darren Allinson (London Irish), Freddie Burns (Leicester Tigers), Shaun Knight (Dragons), Josh Lewis (Ebbw Vale), James Phillips (Bristol Rugby), Sam Underhill (Ospreys), Anthony Perenise (Bristol Rugby)

OUT: David Denton (Worcester Warriors), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Robbie Fruean (Edinburgh Rugby), Joe Graham (Rotherham Titans), Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors), David Sisi (Zebre), Daniel Bowden (released)

Exeter Chiefs

Reigning Aviva Premiership Rugby Champions Exeter Chiefs have opted against making any sweeping changes to their squad but have brought in flanker Matt Kvesic from Gloucester Rugby.

A fine start to life with Exeter will only serve to aid the 25-year-old’s bid to force his way back in the England fold.

IN: James Freeman (Jersey Reds), Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby), Tom O’Flaherty (Ospreys), Toby Salmon (Rotherham Titans), Wilhelm van der Sluys (Southern Kings), Nic White (Montpellier).

OUT: Will Hooley (Bedford Blues), Dave Lewis (Harlequins), Niko Matawalu (released), Geoff Parling (Melbourne Rebels), Damian Welch (Cardiff Blues), Ben White (Cardiff Blues), Matt Jess, Tom Johnson, Haydn Thomas (all retired)

Gloucester Rugby

British & Irish Lion Greig Laidlaw and England winger Jonny May are two high-profile departures from Kingsholm that have taken place this summer.

In contrast, former New Zealand Under-20 full-back Jason Woodward could prove an important addition for Gloucester Rugby following his impressive displays for relegated Bristol Rugby last term, while Leicester Tigers Ed Slater will add bite to their forward pack.

IN: Ruan Ackermann (Lions), Fraser Balmain (Leicester Tigers), Gareth Denman (Northampton Saints), Jake Polledri (Hartpury RFC), Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers), Owen Williams (Leicester Tigers), Jason Woodward (Bristol Rugby), Ben Vellacott (Academy), Freddie Clarke (Academy), Lloyd Evans (Academy).

OUT: Joe Batley (Bristol Rugby), Darren Dawidiuk (London Irish), Paul Doran-Jones (Wasps), James Hook (Ospreys), Sione Kalamafoni (Leicester Tigers), Matt Kvesic (Exeter Chiefs), Greig Laidlaw (ASM Clermont Auvergne), Joe Latta (Bristol Rugby), Tom Lindsay (Bedford Blues), Salesi Ma’afu (RC Narbonne), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Mat Protheroe (Bristol Rugby), Dan Thomas (Bristol Rugby), Yann Thomas (Stade Rouennais)

Harlequins

Harlequins have plumped for a wealth of international talent during their summer recruitment drive, with Namibia’s Renaldo Bothma, South African Demetri Catrakilis and twice-capped All Black Francis Saili all set for their first cracks at Aviva Premiership Rugby.

Catrakilis will look to recreate the form he showed with Montpellier as he attempts to fill the boots of newly-retired club legend Nick Evans.

IN: Renaldo Bothma (Bulls), Lewis Boyce (Yorkshire Carnegie), Demetri Catrakilis (Montpellier,) Ben Glynn (Bristol Rugby), Dave Lewis (Exeter Chiefs), Josh McNulty (Gloucester Rugby), Francis Saili (Munster), Phil Swainston (Wasps).

OUT: Owen Evans (Doncaster Knights), Tyler Gendall (Bristol Rugby), Matt Hopper (Oyonnax), Dan Murphy (Hartpury), Matt Shields (Rotherham Titans), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), Luc Jones, Robbie Nairn, Niall Saunders (all unattached), Karl Dickson, Nick Evans, Netani Talei, George Naoupu, Mark Reddish (all retired)

Leicester Tigers

George Ford and Jonny May stand out among the list of arrivals at Leicester Tigers ahead of the new season.

The England pair arrive with a wealth of top-level experience and much will be expected of them when they take to the field in green, red and white.

IN: George Ford (Bath Rugby), Joe Ford (Yorkshire Carnegie), Jonah Holmes (Yorkshire Carnegie), Sione Kalamafoni (Gloucester Rugby), Nick Malouf (Australia Sevens), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Gareth Owen (Scarlets), Dominic Ryan (Leinster).

OUT: Fraser Balmain (Gloucester Rugby), Peter Betham (ASM Clermont Auvergne), Riccardo Brugnara (Rovigo), Oli Bryant (Jersey Reds), Freddie Burns (Bath Rugby), Ryan Olowofela (England Sevens), JP Pietersen (Toulon), Jack Roberts (Cardiff Blues), Ed Slater (Gloucester Rugby), Owen Williams (Gloucester Rugby), Sam Yawayawa (Glasgow Warriors), Will Owen (released), Marcos Ayerza (retired)

London Irish

After returning to Aviva Premiership Rugby at the first time of asking, London Irish have gone on an almighty recruitment drive, bringing in 11 new faces.

Most are well-versed in the trials and tribulations of the League, perhaps none more than South Africa-born prop Petrus de Plessis, who has left Saracens for a new life at the Madejski Stadium.

IN: Darren Dawidiuk (Gloucester Rugby), Petrus Du Plessis (Saracens), Saia Fainga’a (Brumbies), Lasha Lomidze (Krasny Yar), Luke McLean (Beneton Treviso), Ben Meehan (Melbourne Rebels), Napolioni Nalaga (Lyon), Teofilo Paulo (Beneton Treviso), Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors), Manasa Saulo (Toulon), Jake Schatz (Melbourne Rebels).

OUT: Darren Allinson (Bath Rugby), Gerard Ellis (Dragons Rugby), Luke Narraway (Coventry) Jerry Sexton (Jersey Reds) Jebb Sinclair, Joe Trayfoot, Tevita Koloamatangi, George Robson (all released), Tom Court (retired)

Newcastle Falcons

At Newcastle Falcons, Toby Flood is the name on every fan’s lips. The 32-year-old former England star has returned to his former club nine years after departing for Leicester Tigers and is back in Aviva Premiership Rugby after a three-year spell with Toulouse.

He will be joined at Falcons by Canadian ace DTH van der Merwe, who arrives from Scarlets.

IN: Ryan Burrows (Yorkshire Carnegie), Tevita Cavubati (Worcester Warriors), Cameron Cowell (England Sevens), Trevor Davison (Blaydon), Gary Graham (Jersey Reds), Toby Flood (Toulouse), Joel Matavesi (Redruth), Josh Matavesi (Ospreys), Sami Mavinga (Lyon), Maxime Mermoz (Leicester Tigers), Adam Radwan (Darington Mowden Park), Sam Stuart (Richmond), DTH van der Merwe (Scarlets), Charlie Wilson (Academy).

OUT: Fred Burdon (released), Joshua Chisanga (released), Mike Delany (Bay of Plenty), Archie Erskine (Edinburgh Rugby), Andrew Foster (Rotherham Titans), Ben Harris (Wasps), Mouritz Botha, Tom Catterick, Sam Egerton (all retired)

Northampton Saints

Northampton Saints have shuffled their pack by allowing 12 players to depart. But they have also brought in five players from the Southern Hemisphere, with the likes of David Ribbans and Francoiz van Wyk arriving from Super Rugby.

IN: Mitch Eadie (Bristol Rugby) Piers Francis (Blues), Jamal Ford-Robinson (Bristol Rugby) Rob Horne (Waratahs) Cobus Reinach (Sharks) Francois Van Wyk (Western Force).

OUT: Calum Clark (Saracens), Gareth Denman (Gloucester Rugby), Lee Dickson (Bedford Blues), JJ Hanrahan (Leinster), Sam Olver (Worcester Warriors), Howard Packman (Bedford Blues), Louis Picamoles (Montpellier), Ethan Waller (Worcester Warriors), James Wilson, Sam Dickinson, Jake Ilnicki, George Pisi (all released)

Sale Sharks

Two South African-born internationals are among the raft of new faces at Sale Sharks.

Springbok Faf de Klerk has come in from Super Rugby’s Lions while Scotland international Josh Strauss is another Sale capture from Glasgow Warriors.

IN: Will Cliff (Bristol Rugby), WillGriff John (Doncaster Knights), Marc Jones (Bristol Rugby), Faf de Klerk (Lions), James O’Connor (Toulon), Jono Ross (Stade Francais), Josh Strauss (Glasgow Warriors), Alexandru Tarus (Bezier).

OUT: Sam Bedlow (Bristol Rugby), Andrew Hughes (Sale FC), Kieran Longbottom (Saracens), James Mitchell (Connacht), Dan Mugford (Plymouth Albion), Matt Rogerson (Jersey Reds), Peter Stringer (Worcester Warriors), Sam Tuitupou (Coventry), Neil Briggs, Mike Phillips (both retired), Charlie Ingall, Tim Jeffers, Magnus Lund, Jonathan Mills, Tom Morton, Connor Dever, (all released)

Saracens

Following his heroics for the British & Irish Lions in New Zealand earlier this summer, Saracens supporters will be looking forward to seeing Welsh firecracker Liam Williams in action following his move from Scarlets.

Williams arrives at the top of his game and will step into the breach left by England star Chris Ashton, who has moved to Toulon.

IN: Calum Clark (Northampton Saints), Dominic Day (Rebels), Tom Griffiths (Academy), Kieran Longbottom (Sale Sharks), Will Skelton (Waratahs), Hayden Thompson-Stringer (Academy), Christopher Tolofua (Toulouse), Tom Whiteley (Academy), Liam Williams (Scarlets).

OUT: Chris Ashton (Toulon), Petrus Du Plessis (London Irish), Tom Lindsay (Bedford Blues), George Perkins (Bristol Rugby), Jared Saunders (Jersey Reds), Brian Tuilagi (Dax), Samu Vunisa (Glasgow Warriors), Fa’atiga Lemalu (released), Tim Streather, Neil De Kock, Jim Hamilton, Kelly Brown (all retired)

Wasps

Wasps have injected even more flair into their offensive engine room with the capture of former England and Great Britain 7s international Marcus Watson from Newcastle Falcons and Fiji international Gabiriele Lovobalavu, who comes in from French outfit Bayonne.

IN: Paul Doran Jones (Gloucester Rugby), Antonio ‘TJ’ Harris (Nottingham Rugby), Ben Harris (Newcastle Falcons), Juan de Jongh (Stormers), Gabiriele Lovobalavu (Bayonne), Marcus Watson (Newcastle Falcons).

OUT: Kurtley Beale (Waratahs), Tom Bristow (released), Nick De Luca (retired), Carlo Festuccia (retired), Frank Halai (Pau), Alapati Leiua (Bristol Rugby), Phil Swainston (Harlequins)

Worcester Warriors

The turnover of players has been colossal at Worcester Warriors, meaning that there could be a very different flavour to the Midlands outfit when they dive into the new season.

Among those coming in, former Ireland man Peter Stringer, 39, brings untold experience while Scotland forward David Denton could prove a key man at Sixways following his move from Bath Rugby.

IN: David Denton (Bath Rugby), Tom Howe (Wasps), Simon Kerrod (Jersey Reds), Sam Olver (Northampton Saints), Pierce Phillips (Jersey Reds), Peter Stringer (Sale Sharks), Ethan Waller (Northampton Saints).

OUT: Derrick Appiah (London Scottish), Tevita Cavubati (Newcastle Falcons), Mike Daniels (Hartpury College), Tiff Eden (Nottingham Rugby), James Johnston (Brive), Ryan Lamb (La Rochelle), Na’ama Leleimalefaga (Brive), Val Rapava Ruskin (Gloucester Rugby), Auguy Slowik (Northern Suburbs Rugby Club), Chris Vui (Bristol Rugby), Phil Dowson (retired), Andy Short (retired), Sam Betty, Tom Biggs, Connor Braid, Jaba Bregvadze, Ryan Grant, Cooper Vuna (all released).

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