Who Will Hit The Heights At Their New Club?
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The Premiership Rugby transfer system underwent a change two years ago. Previously if a club wanted to buy a player who was contracted to another club, the fee they would pay amounted to his salary for the remainder of that contract – or the salary they were offering him if it was higher. The change saw this rule dropped and allowed the clubs to simply agree a fee between them, but otherwise there is not much difference between this system and the one for football transfers. There is also a similar interest in how transferred players will do for their new clubs once they sign, like these three.
The Exeter Chiefs are enjoying a fine season, but they are also looking to build from a position of strength during the summer and have snapped up exciting fullback Stuart Hogg for 2019/20. Expectations are high for how the Scotsman will settle at the club, as he seems a perfect fit for the fast, attack-minded approach to the game that is favoured by Rob Baxter, the head coach. He has certainly hit plenty of highs in his career up until now, becoming the most youthful player to reach the 100-appearances milestone when he was only 24 and racking up 220 points in 111 club appearances. It remains to be seen if he can stay injury free for Exeter next season though.
This forward became one of four players signed by Bath Rugby for the 2019/20 season, when he made the switch from Leicester. The versatile Williams is able to play either at second row or on the blindside and it is in the former position that he excelled for the Tigers earlier in the season when their second row was decimated by a combination of suspensions and injuries. Of course he will have the pressure of playing for a new club that has a longstanding rivalry with Leicester, but he adds to Bath Rugby’s options and a fresh start next season could help him work his way back into the England reckoning.
Wasps seem to be having a clearout ahead of the 2019/20 season, with one of those leaving being Nathan Hughes, who is joining Bristol Bears. The Fijian is another player who can play in multiple positions on the pitch although number 8 is his first choice position. The Bears have several players for that slot already, but Hughes will offer them more size and strength than any of those. He started the 2018/19 season brightly for Wasps, grabbing three tries in the first four matches, but a combination of injuries, bereavement and some indiscipline have marred much of the season for him since then.
These three players all have the potential to offer their new clubs something different and all have shown enough in the past to indicate that they can be strong signings.