Ones to watch: Harlequins and Leicester Tigers
Continuing our series of spotlighting players that could make an impact in the Gallagher Premiership Rugby next season, we’re focusing on Harlequins and Leicester Tigers.
Both clubs will be hoping to improve on their fortunes in 2017/18, so these players could be key to a solid campaign.
After making his debut in a quartered shirt at the age of just 18 back in 2015, Stan South has long been on the radar and next season might be his chance to stake a claim on a regular starting place.
South impressed during his eight appearances for Harlequins last season, showing strength and athleticism all over the park.
Still only 21-years-old, the forward has bags of potential and his attributes did not go unnoticed, earning a contract extension at The Stoop in December 2017.
Former Harlequins director of rugby John Kingston said: “I have no doubt he will be pressing very hard for a starting position at lock in the very near future. His ability to also play back row is an illustration of his athleticism.”
Not many players can say they have scored a try to help their team win a trophy, but Nathan Earle fits into that esteemed category.
Touching down in the final for Saracens against Exeter Chiefs in May was a highlight of the season for the winger, who was in prolific form throughout the 2017/18 campaign.
Earle managed seven tries in 14 league appearances, meaning he averaged a score every other game – impressive stats for any winger in elite rugby.
After his eye-catching performances for the champions, Earle earned a call-up from Eddie Jones for both the Six Nations and the summer tour to South Africa, proving his talent is appreciated at the very top of the sport.
Now heading to Harlequins for the upcoming season, the paceman will hope to display his breathtaking speed and clinical finishing to become a central part of the team.
I’m really happy to announce that I will be joining @harlequins next season. 🙌🏾
The opportunity to develop my game under the guidance of JK, Nick Evans and the rest of the coaching team is extremely exciting. 1/3
— Nathan Earle (@natenate174) January 19, 2018
Having established himself as a stalwart of the Scottish side throughout their summer tour of the Americas, David Denton will be hoping to hit the ground running at Welford Road next season.
He finished as man of the match against Canada, making the most carries to help Scotland to victory, then repeated the feat against Argentina.
In that final Test when Scotland ravaged the Pumas he was outstanding in defence, making the most tackles with 14 hits, while proving a constant threat with ball in hand by beating more defenders than any other forward.
For Worcester Warriors last season he displayed his try-scoring ability, dotting down five times in 16 Premiership appearances, while also crossing in the Anglo-Welsh Cup and the Challenge Cup, an aspect he will be hoping to bring to his new club.
— Leicester Tigers (@LeicesterTigers) April 7, 2018
Since making his debut in a Tigers jersey at Twickenham in April, Jordan Olowofela has gone from strength to strength.
His electric pace earned him a place at the World Rugby U20 Championship where he shone for England, finishing the event on the shortlist for Breakthrough Player of the Tournament.
With two tries in the opening group game against Argentina, an important score in the one-point victory over South Africa in the semi-final, and a double in the final against France, Olowofela proved himself as a potent threat on the international stage.
The speedster also demonstrated his versatility, switching form wing to centre throughout the tournament and attacking effectively in both positions, a skill that will boost his chances of making a name for himself next season.
Leicester Tigers head of rugby operations Ged Glynn said: “Jordan Olowofela was a stand-out payer of the tournament. Normally stand-out players in that tournament turn out to be very good Premiership Rugby players.”
Ones to Watch Series:
Bristol Rugby and Bristol Bears
Exeter Chiefs and Gloucester Rugby
Harlequins and Leicester Tigers
Newcastle Falcons and Northampton Saints
Sale Sharks and Saracens
Wasps and Worcester Warriors