Updated: Mar 29
Despite silly season being a distant memory and two weeks of zilch on our screens, Rugby transfer rumours are currently rife up and down the Premiership. With high profile players signing pre contract agreements and clubs choosing to dump dead wood back onto the free transfer list, it comes as no surprise that we've heard some howlers this January when it comes to transfer rumours... Who should your club avoid signing?
5. Siya Kolisi - Wasps
This bonkers rumour luckily seems to be losing traction daily and I even contemplated leaving this off of the list entirely. However, the fact that this transfer was even rumoured had my soft Wasps heart racing... I don't mean that in an exciting, anticipation sort of way, I meant that in a, 'oh no we are doing this again' sort of way. Kolisi is a World Cup winning captain, the type of generational talent most sides would pay any amount of money for, but of all the teams in the world to join, Wasps would be the absolute worst choice. Willis, Young, Barbeary, and even Oghre can all occupy that 7 shirt, all of which are international-level talent and three of which aren't even 25 yet. Wasps old ethos of buying marquee players for one off success has proven itself outdated with players such as Piutau, Beale and La Roux all working in the short term and departing speedily once their one year contracts come to an end. That leave holes, holes leave headaches and headaches effect performance. Blackett has implemented a new, home-grown system concentrating on clever championship signings, intelligent youth promotion and problem solving; Kolisi hits none of those categories. With Sopoaga still likely to leave too, I think Wasps transition away from marquee internationals is working tremendously. Steer clear here...
4. Mike Brown - Newcastle Falcons
Harlequins have had a rough time of it recently with huge departures in their coaching staff, confirmed free transfers of key players and transfer requests rumoured by club heroes, a big win against Wasps looks to be a step in the right direction for the underperforming side. Brown leaving feels inevitable and the rumoured suitors are Newcastle. With young Tom Penny hitting his stride at the top level, this feels like a big waste of resources. Brown is still the safest pair of hands in the Premiership with no player fielding kicks more consistently than him, but at 35 years old, it seems like a wasted contract. The last thing the Falcons would want is to start blunting their own talent by spending big on temporary options. As a squad option Brown, on the surface, might seem a clever move to keep them in the upper half of the Premiership, but with academy talent sweeping the league and being instrumental in their teams rotation, I think it would be smart to cut this one off early.
3. Freddie Burns - Leicester Tigers
Much was made of the Japanese excursion that Burns found himself on last season. After a disappointing run of poor form at Bath, pushing him well out of the starting squad, he decided to move to Shokki Shuttles, like many others have, to rejuvenate his once exciting career. Since that move, it's been far from plain sailing. A global pandemic later has left Burns feeling isolated and alone over in the Far East, looking for a return to spend time with family. Leicester Tigers have reportedly opened a dialogue with Freddie Burns to discuss a shock return to Welford Road. With George Ford rejuvenated and finally finding his best form again, I can't see this being the best move for either side. Burns is an attacking option and a bit of a maverick; he has shown glimpses of world class talent in both the club and international game. I think Leicester would be better to promote youth or go for a far more pragmatic option to help them close big games, rather than relying on the moments of class from marquee signings. I would prefer to see him move to a club such as Worcester to replace the departing Duncan Weir, or even to Exeter to interchange with Simmonds and provide the Steenson role.
2. Tommy Taylor - Sale Sharks
Fan-favourite and Wasps hooker Tommy Taylor is in talks with Sale Sharks about returning to his former club. Wasps is stacked with talent in the middle of the front row and as a fan myself, I think it might be time to offload the loyal servant. However, as an option for a Sale side looking to turn around their top 4 ambitions, I think this is a really poor move. Tommy Taylor is 29 now and to say he's injury prone is an understatement. You might get ten games out of him a season and I don't think that's nearly enough for a starting option for a side marching up the league. I think he's still a classy operator on the pitch, being one of the best defensive hookers in the league, but for Sale I think they would be better off looking outside of their rivals subs-bench. Again, I feel this is another option that stems the youth development within the side and without a ready-made replacement to serve as a rotation option with Taylor, I can't see this being a great move for the Sharks.
1. Danny Cipriani - Newcastle Falcons
I don't know who's running the rumour mill up in the north, but they are doing a ruddy shoddy job of it! You'd have to be living under a rock to not know of the news of the 33 year old's departure from Kingsholm late last year, but regardless it seemed like Cip's Rugby-playing days seemed over to the casual viewer. However, the free agent is now being linked with Northampton and Sale, but the frontrunners are yet again Newcastle. The Falcons currently have Connon, Hodgson and Flood who can all cover at Fly Half with each option covering a slightly different age bracket too. Connon has been in great form and the axis in the 10/12 channel seems interchangeable with the other flexible options. Cipriani does not match Richards' brand of simplistic yet effective Rugby whatsoever. Stylistically, Cipriani seems like the worst fit that I could think of with this current Newcastle squad. Also, the big personality that he's unfortunately had used against him by the media could be a further stumbling block with growing the teams cohesion. I think it would be best for Cip's to close out those years in the MLR or in Japan; if not, maybe aim for a club that needs an urgent push like Worcester.
Photo Copyright Credit: The Telegraph