Updated: Mar 29
Now we are approaching the half way mark of the season and the Six Nations are just around the corner, it's a really good time to take stock of the options floating around the talent pools come next season. There are certain clubs who are performing well above expectations, and a lot of those who just can't get it together at the moment. We thought we would throw together a list of some great options that YOUR club should bring in for next season. Let's jump right in..
5. Harlequins - Dai Young
We thought we would start this list off with a bang, choosing a really spicy candidate to boost a team up next season. After last weekends display against London Irish and the news of Lang and Tapuai leaving in summer, Marler handing in a transfer request and Marcus Smith getting offered some lucrative deals overseas, there needs to be a huge shake up at Quins. As much as we love Gustard, this move really hasn't worked out and if anything, Harlequins look to be going backwards under his stewardship. So what options are there out on the market at the moment? The best has to be Dai Young. As a Wasps fan, Dai Young became one of the most respected figures in the clubs history after he pulled us out of relegation and potential liquidation, and pushed us up the league into finals in the Premiership and Semi Finals in the European Cup. He handled all the rubbish off of the pitch to do with the stadium move and did even better to handle the egos of Cipriani, Beale and more whilst under his leadership. He's currently under a short term contract with the Cardiff Blues and there is no doubting his loyalty to Wasps, but if Harlequins get a big wedge of cash from these outgoing players, Young would be the best man to lead them out of this mess. He will restructure your coaching staff, get you playing wide, expansive Rugby that suits your strengths, rather than just trying to play safe Rugby and 'not lose'. If a couple of games went differently, we would be talking about Dai as one of the best of all time in the Premiership. Get him in Quins!
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4. Bristol Bears - Joe Marler
Absolute fantasy booking right? Actually, it could potentially be a great move for all parties. Marler looks to be leaving Quins this season and it could potentially be on poor terms, it's very likely he will take a big payday in Japan or France or wherever, but what if you could convince him to stay in the Premiership? Let's think about him at Bristol... Loosehead prop is probably, on paper, their weakest position at present with Lahiff constantly on the injury bench or performing a little below his level on the pitch and Yann Thomas being the preferred starter. Afoa on the other wise of the scrum is now 37 too so they should have some wages coming up in that front row. Kyle Sincklers old teammate for club and country, Marler could be the jewel in that Bristol crown. An awesome scrummager, surprisingly dynamic, buckets full of experience and capable of some savvy gamesmanship, Marler at 30 years old still has a couple of years left at the highest level. This would surely tip Bristol over the top of the wage budget, but it would be fascinating to see!
3. Harlequins/Newcastle Falcons - Kieran Brookes
Another 30 year old prop on this list, you forwards can't accuse us of favouritism anymore after this one! Brooks has been in fantastic form for Wasps the last two seasons and despite a slow start, he's risen to prominence in that front row becoming one of their best signings of the last few years. Wasps were typically inconsistent at scrum time before he found his fitness and ever since, they've had a formidable platform that has become another weapon in their already impressive arsenal. Brookes is rumoured to be leaving the club when his contracts up, potentially heading over to France as another name on the long list of Montpellier hopefuls. Now would be the time to snatch him up if I were Newcastle or Harlequins. He would suit Newcastle well, having started his professional career there and having played perhaps his best Rugby there (he was even in the England setup during his tenure up north). He would add some star power into that front row and he tackles like a freight train too. Although Newcastle have some very consistent and reliable props on their books, Brookes has the ability to hurt his opposition at the set piece and with ball in hand. For Quins, he would be a clever little signing to lessen the blow of Marler (I know Marlers a Loosehead, but he does often cover on the tight being a specialist and all). Again, Harlequins need some firepower and grit up front, he's a nasty bugger to get on the wrong side of so bring him in!
2. London Irish - Sam Spink
Now not a lot is known about this young Wasps academy graduate, but Sam Spink is an incredibly exciting prospect. He's had cameos in the first team where he's showed talent way beyond his years, tearing teams apart with gas to burn and an eye for a gap. He's not just handy in offence though, he's also able to hit well above his weight and is difficult to break through. As a Wasps fan however, I don't see where his future is within the side unless there are drastic shakeups. Gopperth is 37 now but you just can't predict when he will hang up his boots, De Jongh still has time left in the tank, Odogwu looks like he will be shifted into the centre in the long term, 'Big Booj' still has a couple years left at the peak of his powers, we have Fekitoa to come back from injury and star signing Ryan Mills will eventually take back that starting 12 jersey. Whether it's a 2 year loan or an outright transfer, I can see Spink leaving in similar fashion to Piers O'Conor and Will Stuart. London Irish would be a great destination. He will improve a worryingly aging squads longevity, add some extra dynamism into that midfield and could compliment young talents like Hassell Collins for years to come. I think it's a win-win in this situation, Wasps lose the headache of finding reasons that he can't be in a starting 15 in the Premiership and London Irish pick up a prospect who's ready to contribute now.
Copyright Credit: @GettyImages 2019
1. Leicester Tigers - Siya Kolisi
Again, absolute fantasy booking here and I have to state NO-ONE has linked Siya Kolisi with a move to Leicester Tigers. However, he has been linked with a move to Wasps which makes absolutely no sense for anyone involved. Wasps have immense depth across the back row and have young talent emerging that are ready to start now. Leicester on the other hand have a couple of consistent performers, but no one that I would say troubles the top 4 competition on paper. Weise is a quality player, Taufua could be a top class option but where is the star power of yester years? The Neil Backs', the Dean Richards', the Martin Corrys'? Leicester have historically had real leaders in that back row who had international pedigree to boot and buckets of experience, Kolisi could be that guy. He won't play every game I know that, he will cost a hefty amount you'd have to imagine too, but he's a once in a generation player and one of the all time great captains at just 29 years old. You'd have some years left in his peak and Leicester need some big performances NOW! Definitely one to keep your eye on..