10 Best Rugby Transfers so far this summer

While international summer rugby takes up our time, teams have been making moves to prepare for the 2022/23 season. There have been some brilliant moves so far this summer with these being 10 of the best.

Hugh Tizard to Saracens

It shows the pull of Saracens when they are easily able to poach one of the best young players from their rivals.

Hugh Tizard is one of the best young English locks in the Premiership at the moment. Having joined the youth system of Harlequins at the age of 16, Tizard would make his first team debut in October 2019 when he played in the pool stage of the Premiership Rugby Cup.

After a short loan spell to London Scottish, Tizard became a key player for Harlequins. Tizard was ever present throughout the season and quickly showed why he is such a good prospect. Imperious in the air, Tizard has the ball carrying and offloading that a lot of the best young forwards seem to have at the moment.

Tizard was announced as a Saracens signing in January, joining Quins biggest rival. He comes in as the long term replacement for the retiring Tim Swinson. It is a risky move for Tizard but he has the talent to become the partner to Maro Itoje over Nick Isiekwe and it could lead Tizard into the England squad if he can continue his form.

George Ford to Sale Sharks

Sale are one of the teams making big changes this summer and bringing in recent Premiership Rugby champion Fly-Half George Ford is a great move.

Ford began his career at Leicester before a move to Bath in 2013 which led to his England debut in 2014. Ford returned to the Tigers in 2017 but it was just as the team began to spiral downwards. Despite starting in the 2019 World Cup final, Ford dropped out of the England team as his form dropped off.

That was until the incredible bounce back season that Ford has had this year. He led the Tigers to the title and was one of the best number 10s in the country. Despite only playing 20 minutes in the final, Ford was key to Leicester’s title.

Sale are losing AJ McGinty this summer as he heads down to Bath but Ford is definitely an upgrade. He will form an exciting pairing with scrum half Raffi Quirke who will be taking over from the departing World Cup winner Faf de Klerk.

Having made it to the semi finals in 2021, this latest season was a disappointment for Sale as they finished sixth in a tight top four battle. The Sharks are doing a big overhaul this season and will be relying on more young players next season. It means having an incredibly experienced Fly-Half will be crucial to any success Sale have next season.

Vincent Tshituka to Sharks

The first URC season threw up a lot of surprises and also some outstanding players. Vincent Tshituka was one of those players who had a breakout 2021-22 season.

Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tshituka went to school in South Africa where he started playing rugby alongside his brother Emmanuel. Having come through the Lions youth academy, he made his debut for the Super Rugby team in 2019.

His performances did not receive a huge amount of recognition until this season. Tshituka seemed to collect the man of the match award pretty much every game. It comes for a variety of reasons. Tshituka is one of the hardest working players in rugby and will make tackles all over the field.

Not only that, but his ball carrying is destructive and Tshituka is also good at forcing turnovers. You have to be pretty good if South African fans have spent most of the season hoping you get your passport sorted as soon as possible.

He should get even more of a chance to impress next season as he moves to the Sharks. They will have been disappointed with the teams first season in the URC, losing to the Bulls in the quarter-finals. Adding Tshituka means that he can learn his trade alongside World Cup winner Siya Kolisi.

Adding Tshituka as well as another name later on this list should make the Sharks a real contender next season for the URC title.

Taulupe Faletau to Cardiff

Wales rugby as a whole has had a pretty poor season, with no Welsh teams making the quarter-finals of the URC. It seems as though Cardiff are making a really good shot at it next season with some of their moves including Taulupe Faletau.

Faletau made his debut for the Dragons in 2009 and played for the Wlehs team for seven years. In that time he became a key part of the Wales side as well as touring with the Lions in 2013. With the Dragons failing to compete to the level Faletau was looking for he moved to Bath in 2016.

His time in Bath has been a slightly disappointing one with Faletau struggling with injuries and Bath having an awful 2021/22 season. With Bath in full rebuild mode, Faletau has taken the decision to move back to Cardiff. He is one of the outstanding signings that Cardiff are making this season alongside Liam Williams and Thomas Young.

There is a reason why Faletau is closing in on a century of caps for Wales. Faletau is a powerful runner who is often the first option for Wales. He was even the first carrying option for the Lions in 2017, scoring a try in the second test which the Lions won.

Not only is It a great move for Cardiff, but it would be good to see the team actually competing in the URC. Welsh teams were really poor in the first URC season, but moves like this could push Cardiff up to the top eight.

Regan Grace to Racing 92

We have seen lots of examples of players making the code switch in rugby, with Regan Grace making the shock move into rugby union at the end of the Super League season.

Born in Port Talbot, Wales, Grace actually started off playing rugby union and was in the youth squads of the Ospreys. But at the age of 17, Grace joined St Helens and was so impressive in the youth teams that he made his international debut for Wales in 2015, a year before making his St Helens debut.

After making his St Helens debut, he became a star pretty quickly and is currently sitting on 89 tries in 143 games for his club. He has some big time performances, being the leading try-scorer in the 2021 Challenge Cup final with five tries combined in the quarter and semi-finals.

He will make the move to Racing 92 at the end of the Super League season. He is one of the players who Racing hope can fill the large hole left by Teddy Thomas. Grace is lightning quick and also has the power to be a great try scoring threat.

Despite a hugely talented squad, Racing finished sixth in the Pro 14 and lost in the European Champions Cup semi-final to La Rochelle. While the exact date when Grace will join is unknown, he will be a massive threat for Racing and could easily be in the Wales team very soon.

Malakai Fekitoa to Munster

Losing the centre who started the Word Cup final will always leave a pretty big whole but Munster have done an incredibly good job of finding a more than suitable replacement.

Tongan born Fekitoa began playing his rugby in New Zealand after he was offered a scholarship at Wesley College. Having come up through the Auckland youth set up, Fekitoa was initially signed for the Blues but moved to the Highlanders in 2014 due to limited minutes.

He became a New Zealand regular until a surprise move to Toulon in 2017 ended his time with the All Blacks. Two seasons with Toulon were followed by three with London Wasps. In the Premiership, Fekitoa showed his incredible ball carrying. He is able to unlock any defence with fast, powerful running from centre.

The Tongan star is back playing for his country of birth having been exiled from the All Blacks team because of his move to Europe. In his time with Wasps, he showed how good he really is and Munster are getting a great player.

Losing Damian de Allende is a big one for Munster, the South African playing well for the Irish team. Munster have a lot of good young players but adding Fekitoa is a clear sign that they want to take advantage of the experience that they have in the backs.

Fekitoa will slot in very nicely to a group of backs including experienced internationals like Keith Earls, Conor Murray and Simon Zebo. Fekitoa will likely partner Chris Farrell through the season and that is a very good pairing for Munster despite losing Damian de Allende

Eben Etzebeth to Sharks

It would have been pretty scary to see how good the South African teams were in the first season of the URC and the Sharks are one of those teams adding lots more talent this summer including World Cup winner Eben Etzebeth.

Any rugby fan should know quite a lot about the lock. He began playing in Super Rugby in 2012, the same year he made his debut for South Africa at 19. Despite not playing much for the Stormers after his debut, Etzebeth maintained his position in the Springboks team.

His move to Toulon in 2019 looked like it would be another superstar added to the long list to have played for Toulon. But Etzebeth’s time with the French side has been a little underwhelming. Injuries and international commitments meant he did not often play for Toulon, starting in the two European finals the team lost in his time there.

Despite ending his Toulon career with a disappointing performance in the EPCR Challenge Cup final, Etzebeth is still one of the best players in the world. The former World Rugby Player of the Year nominee is dominant in the air thanks to his 6ft 8in frame as well as being incredibly strong.

Good over the ball, Etzebeth is a powerful runner who will sure up the Sharks lineout, receiving the ball from one of the best Hookers in the world, Bongi Mbonambi. It is a scary addition to the already loaded Sharks.

Handre Pollard to Leicester Tigers

Losing George Ford again is a tough one for Leicester, but they really could not have done much better in finding a replacement for him in Handre Pollard.

Pollard broke through into the Bulls team in 2014 and he made his international debut not long after with the Springbok’s first three fly-halves out. Pollard was good as South Africa crushed Scotland 55-6. Since then, Pollard became crucial to the South African side despite a major knee ligament injury in 2016.

2019 was a huge year for Pollard as he decided not to extend his contract with the Bulls, instead moving to French side Montpellier. He also scored 22 of South Africa’s 32 points in the World Cup Final to lift the trophy for the first time since 2007.

Since then, his form has dipped slightly. Pollard’s time at Montpellier ended with him being benched for Italian Fly-Half Paolo Garbisi. Pollard came off the bench as Montpellier won their first Top 14 title in their third final. It is not the best look for Pollard.

But the Fly-Half is still a brilliant signing for the reigning Premiership champions. He is a premier game manager and while he has not been starting for Montpellier, Pollard has still looked good in limited minutes for the French side. Pollard could be key if the Tigers want to repeat as Premiership champions.

Teddy Thomas to La Rochelle

Ronan O’Gara’s La Rochelle were the surprise winners of the European Champions Cup as they powered past Leinster to win the title for the first time in their history having lost in the final last year.

The team won the title because of their incredible power upfront through Uini Atonio, Will Skelton and Gregory Alldritt. The teams forward pack is complimented by one of the best centre combinations in the world in Jonathan Danty and Levani Botia. The scary thing for the rest of Europe is that they have added one of the best wingers in the world.

Beginning his career in 2012, Thomas made big impressions in Europe as he took apart opposing Gloucester defender Charlie Sharples on his way to a pair of tries on European debut. After Biarritz were relegated, Thomas was plenty of suitors from the French top flight and he signed for Racing 92.

In his time with Racing, Thomas made his French debut when he played in the 2014 November test series against Fiji. Particularly in the last couple of years, Thomas has became a world class winger as Racing went to three Champions Cup finals, losing all three.

Injuries meant that Thomas did not play in the 2016 Top 14 final which Racing won. While Thomas was not part of the French Grand Slam winning campaign at the start of 2022, he is a phenomenal winger with incredibly quick feet and creativity that brings him a huge amount of try scoring opportunities.

Ellis Genge to Bristol Bears

There are a few guys who you would say are the in-from props in the world and Ellis Genge is right up there.

Having grown up on the Knowle West council estate in Bristol, Genge joined Bristol Bears at the age of 18 and moved from back row to prop. He would quickly emerge as a young star for the championship side and made his debut at 19 years old. Genge quickly looked like Premiership quality and signed for Leicester in 2016 and received an England call up after just one Leicester game.

Genge struggled to keep a place in the side for his first few years ad also struggled wit a couple of injuries. But over the last couple of years, Genge has become one of the first names on the team sheet for England as well as being named club captain of Leicester in 2020, replacing Tom Youngs.

His captaincy of Leicester paid dividends this season as the Tigers went from being the worst team in the Premiership in 2020 to champions in 2022 after defeating Saracens in the final. Genge has also become a lot more influential for England, even playing in a fullback role against France.

That game against France highlighted just how good Genge is at ball carrying. He is very rarely stopped at the gain line and is aggressive in pretty much every part of his game. He is a phenomenal signing for Bristol who can pair him with England prop Kyle Sinckler.

Genge is incredibly pleased to be returning to his first team as they are coming off the back of their worst season in the last few years. Hard to think of a better signing the Bears could have made.

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