Ones to watch in Gallagher Premiership Rugby: Sale Sharks and Saracens
There is unfortunately no Gallagher Premiership Rugby action just yet but there is still plenty of transfer business going on behind closed doors and lots of stories developing.
In the latest of our series previewing players who could make a big impact come the start of the season, we took a look at Sale Sharks and Saracens.
Rohan Janse van Rensburg
It’s hard to think of a more exciting signing for the upcoming Gallagher Premiership Rugby season than box office South African centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg.
Sale Sharks supporters of course got a taste of what’s to come when the explosive 23-year-old Springbok enjoyed a successful loan spell at the club during the 2017/18 season.
Van Rensburg only joined for a short spell but made a long-lasting impact with three tries in eight appearances and a series of showcases of his bulldozing midfield power.
More powerful finishes like this please 💪💪
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) June 27, 2018
The 6ft 1in centre, who began his career with the Blue Bulls in 2013, has now joined on a three-year deal from the Emirates Lions where he’s featured in Super Rugby over the summer months.
Van Rensburg joins up with close friend Faf de Klerk and excitement to see the two eye-catching Springboks in action together again is palpable.
While Sale welcome in a new signing from South Africa in the sizeable shape of Van Rensburg they also welcome back one of their own from the highveld – England flanker Tom Curry.
Curry is one of the England players to return from the three-Test June tour of South Africa with his reputation enhanced after three impressive displays in the No.7 shirt.
Curry has just turned 20 but regularly shows experience beyond his years, keeping his cool while battling a marauding Springbok pack to win several key turnovers and displaying his unrelenting work rate.
Of course, while some of this is news to the international community, Sale supporters have been aware of Curry’s talents for a while.
An injury-interrupted 2017/18 season saw Curry make 11 league appearances last term and he’ll fight it out in a competitive squad this season alongside brother Ben, TJ Ioane, Jono Ross and Josh Strauss.
Ben Curry has also enjoyed a stellar summer, captaining England Under-20s to the World Rugby Under-20s Championship final in France.
Both brothers add size and weight with each coming year and are fast developing into two of the most dominant back-row forwards in England.
It’s all change out wide for Saracens for the upcoming Gallagher Premiership Rugby season with Nathan Earle having moved to Harlequins and Chris Wyles retired.
Plenty of speed has been brought in though with David Strettle returning to the club from Clermont Auvergne and Alex Lewington crossing the capital from London Irish.
The 26-year-old, who started his career with Leicester Tigers, has been one of the most elusive runners in the top flight of English rugby in recent years.
Lewington has struck with 43 tries in 105 appearances at the top level and helped himself to eight five-pointers in 22 appearances last season.
With injury having afflicted his 2017/18 season, Saracens supporters will be hoping to see a lot more of influential flanker Michael Rhodes in the upcoming campaign.
Rhodes only made 11 Premiership Rugby appearances last season, five of them from the bench, and will feel like a new signing if he can stay fit.
The 30-year-old has consistently delivered powerful performances and has played a key part in Saracens successes in recent years, whether that be from the back row or at lock.
The double European Champions Cup winner offers work rate, power and pace and could be a key man once again in 2018/19.
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