By Alan Dymock
NO DOUBT the hope was, during the moments where we all jumped up and shouted about the harsh brilliance of the Heineken Cup and the layout of the Six Nations squads, that a few signings could be squeezed in without us noticing.
Social networks never sleep, though. They never cease buzzing, despite how far down a press release a player’s name is shoved, or how obscure a source is. That mill, where rumours are ground out, spins at a furious rate as French millionaires flex their muscles and English sides hunt for their next marquee signing.
So far this season it has been revealed that big players are on the move. Below are some of those characters set to sport new colours in the near future.
It is safe to say that young Billy’s decision to jump ship has not gone down too well with his former chums at London Wasps.
Yesterday an eleventh hour announcement came from Saracens, stating that the battering ram of a No8 was ready to join brother Mako in the black and red of the Allianz outfit. Last night and today can rightly be called a day of unbridled backlash.
His talent is there for all to see. However, how to manage that talent is already proving tough to figure out.
The South African winger is a weapon. He is used to success. He is meant for the finer things in life.
So perhaps the Stormer was meant to sign for Toulon. It was recently announced in South Africa that the country’s record try scorer was headed for the south of France, adding danger to Toulon’s already terrifying arsenal. Mind you, with stories circulating that World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson is set to call time on his career, it makes total, sane sense that another superstar World Cup winner is jetted in, just in case. Scary…
It is proving a fantastic time for that behemoth of the Top 14 ‘Undisclosed French club’.
The mysterious Gallic outfit have pulled off coup after coup so far, with French regulations ensuring that no club can officially sign a player before April. So we know for a fact that Jamie Roberts will leave Cardiff Blues and we know he is off to France, but we do not know precisely where he is going, despite it being strongly alleged that Racing Metro will be his new employers.
Vive le jaw.
That pesky undisclosed French club is at it again. Not happy with just wrapping up Roberts, they felt is necessary to secure the signature of a certain Welsh flanker, who specialises in chopping down those with the temerity to attack his defensive channel.
Lydiate is also rumoured to be off to Racing alongside his compatriot. The exodus from Wales continues and it is almost certain that Toby Faletau will be receiving an abnormally large amount of phone calls in the coming months.
Now moving onto his third code, the 23 year-old league/Aussie rules convert has signed up with Michael Cheika at the NSW Waratahs. It is hoped his quicksilver finishing will attract more transient fans in Sydney. What is not quite sure is whether he will be a successful addition for a franchise trying desperately to recapture former glories. A gamble, but an exciting one at that.
Coming from behind a bush in leftfield is Alby Mathewson, the All Black scrum-half. He has just signed for Western Force, hopping across the Tasman to try and make it big in Australia.
In an undoubtedly lucrative move, Mathewson is now the marquee man in Perth, hoping to overcome the team’s recent troubles and instill some form of stability. Expect action, even if that means the Kiwi tries to do it all himself in an attempt to drag his team with him.