In this piece we take a look at which players you should be keeping an eye on in this upcoming season.
Gallagher Premiership Players To Watch
With the new season set to begin, at Rugby World we have put together this piece looking at one player to watch for each team competing in the Gallagher Premiership.
Is there anyone you think we have missed?
What do you do when you jettison long-serving giant-on-the-wing Matt Banahan? Simple, replace him with a similarly-sized model, a decade younger. Step forward Joe Cokanasiga, who has joined from London Irish with a growing highlights reel. Time will tell if he’s a worthy replacement.
All eyes will be on Charles Piutau. Billed as the highest-paid player in the league and having shone for Wasps in the Premiership, the former All Black has plenty of Bears fans and neutrals expecting excitement. The people want flashing feet from the full-back.
He’s no ‘young gun’ but it will be interesting to see how Alex Cuthbert fares in Devon. Exeter are renowned for plucking players from other clubs and getting them to perform at a high level. Will they be able to do the same with Cuthbert, who suffered a slump in form in the Welsh goldfish bowl?
There is a band of bright young things at Glaws, with forwards Lewis Ludlow and Jake Polledri already impressing. But the re-emergence of centre Henry Trinder, 29, is something to get locals and casuals buzzing.
Only Worcester and London Irish scored fewer tries than Quins (58) in the league last season and Gabriel Ibitoye could be just the man to improve their strike rate. The winger has produced athletic finishes for England U20 and now needs to do the same for his club.
Big things are expected of Will Evans, 21, who won the 2016 Junior World Cup with England U20. The back-row’s work-rate is superb and he links effectively. If he has better luck with injuries, he could be a first-team regular.
Back-rower Gary Graham came roaring into form at the tail-end of the season, and he is thriving amongst fellow diggers Will Welch, Will Witty, Mark Wilson and Callum Chick. That back five of the pack could really grow.
Dan Biggar, the Pro14’s record point-scorer, is tasked with revitalising an uninspired back-line. As an arch competitor, the Wales fly-half will be looking to remind Warren Gatland of his worth.
Tom Curry turned 20 on England’s tour of South Africa, where he was one of Eddie Jones’s standout players in a disappointing series. The flanker’s power in the tackle, scavenging ability on the deck and aggression in the tight mark him out as a player of pedigree.
Nick Isiekwe may have bad memories of England’s tour to South Africa, but with Saracens he really came of age last season, becoming a must-pick in the back five. Versatile and relentless, he has a lot of eyes on him now.
Nizaam Carr made such an impact during a loan spell last season that he signed a long-term deal at Wasps. With Nathan Hughes and Brad Shields likely to be away on England duty, Carr could become the key figure in their back row.
Surplus to requirement at the Scarlets, Josh Adams headed to Sixways to establish himself and the past 12 months have been something of a breakthrough. The Premiership’s joint top try-scorer with 13 last season, he is now a Wales international and scored a fine try against Argentina in June.
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