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Here's who the Premiership clubs have signed for the 2015/16 season

JJ Hanrahan’s move to Northampton brings a while new Irish angle to the English league.

EARLIER THIS WEEK, we brought you a round-up of the transfers involving Irish players ahead of the 2015/16 season.

Today, we turn our attention to the Aviva Premiership as a whole, detailing the key signings made by each of the English clubs over the summer.

MunsterÕs  JJ Hanrahan JJ Hanrahan has joined the Northampton Saints. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

JJ Hanrahan’s exploits with Northampton will be followed closely here in Ireland, while Munster, Ulster and Leinster fans are likely to be interested in the transfer business of their Champions Cup pool opponents.



One of Bath’s biggest recruits of the off-season is Wales international out-half Rhys Priestland, who will compete with incumbent George Ford or cover for the Englishman if he misses out on Wales’ final World Cup squad.

The flair of Niko Matawalu compensates for the departure of Peter Stringer at scrum-half, while also providing an option on the wing. Meanwhile, versatile back Tom Homer joins from London Irish and Jeff Williams has been acquired from the England 7s squad.

Scrum-half Jonathan Evans also joins from the Dragons. Bath are, of course, part of Leinster’s Champions Cup pool alongside Wasps.

Exeter Chiefs

Neutrals’ favourites Exeter have done well this summer, luring excellent England lock Geoff Parling from Leicester, and also nabbing the Tigers’ tireless flanker Julian Salvi.

Sean O'Brien celebrates with Geoff Parling Parling (right) is an excellent signing for the Chiefs. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Exciting Italy centre Michele Campagnaro joins from Treviso, while rugby league convert Josh Jones is an interesting addition from St. Helen’s. Bath wing Olly Woodburn, Edinburgh lock Ollie Atkins and Northampton out-half Will Hooley have also joined.


David Humphreys’ men have signed a trio of excellent Super Rugby players in lock Jeremy Thrush of the Hurricanes, the Chiefs’ versatile back Tom Marshall and experienced Crusaders scrum-half  Willi Heinz.

Irish loosehead Paddy McAllister comes in after a season in France with Aurillac, while England-capped Paul Doran-Jones and Welsh prospect Nicky Thomas strengthen the tighthead options.

Hooker Tom Lindsay signs from Wasps to further bolster the front row.


Conor O’Shea beat off the Welsh clubs and a handful of Premiership rivals for the capture of Lions centre Jamie Roberts this summer, the Welshman having been released from his Racing Métro contract a year early.

Quins have made another potentially excellent signing in former Australia captain James Horwill, who will look to re-discover his form in England. The explosive finishing of Scotland international Tim Visser should add to O’Shea’s attacking arsenal.

Wales Jamie Roberts is tackled by IrelandÕs Sean O'Brien Roberts brings excellent pedigree to Quins. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

Legendary Welsh prop Adam Jones joins after a stint with the Ospreys, while out-half Tim Swiel has made his move from the Sharks permanent. Former New Zealand U20 international Winston Stanley has joined too, the centre bringing Super Rugby experience with him.

Finally, loosehead Owen Evans has moved from the Dragons.

Leicester Tigers

Leicester – part of Munster’s Champions Cup pool – are another club who have looked to the Southern Hemisphere, with flanker Brendon O’Connor joining from the Blues, electric wing Peter Betham coming in from the Waratahs and the excellent lock Michael Fitzgerald leaving the Chiefs to move to England.

The destructive Tongan back row Opeti Fonua has switched from London Welsh, while durable Worcester lock Mike Williams adds to the forward options.

23-year-old Jono Kitto joins Fitzgerald in making the move from New Zealand, for whom he played at U20 level, as Australian Lachlan McCaffrey switches from London Welsh.

Dominic Barrow comes in after activating a release clause in his Newcastle contract, while prop Greg Bateman signs from Exeter.

London Irish

The Exiles’ most important recruit may well be head coach Tom Coventry, but they have recruited well on the pitch too.

Ben Franks scores a try Ben Franks scores against Ireland in 2013. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

New Zealand prop Ben Franks is a superb addition, while Australian scrum-half Brendan McKibben has joined from the Waratahs. Fijian wing Asaeli Tikoirotuma has proven quality, even if his season at Harlequins was not as impressive as hoped for.

Scotland and Lions wing Sean Maitland is another strong signing, while Irishman Eoin Sheriff has made the move from Saracens. English lock Matt Symons returns to his native land after making a lasting impression on the Chiefs in New Zealand.

The oft-maligned Andy Goode brings his experience from Wasps, while centre Dom Waldouck is a solid addition from Northampton. Former England U20 wing David Sisi and flanker Joe Trayfoot moves from Harlequins.

Newcastle Falcons

The Falcons – who face Connacht in the Challenge Cup pool stages – have made an excellent signing in Kiwi out-half Mike Delany from Clermont. Lively scrum-half Micky Young has joined from Bath to set up the possibility of an all-new halfback pairing.

Scotland international loosehead Jon Welsh has impressed for Glasgow in the recent past, while Italian wing/centre Giovanbattista Venditti has racked up 27 caps.

There are three new Tonga internationals on the books in Newcastle in the shape of back row Nili Latu, tighthead Taione Vea and scrum-half Sonatane Takulua, the third of them now on a permanent deal.

An intriguing signing is that of England 7s pace merchant Marcus Watson, the older brother of Bath and England fullback Anthony.

Northampton Saints

From an Irish point of view, it’s the addition of Kerryman JJ Hanrahan that will be of most interest at the Saints this season. He’ll be joined by another former Munster player in South African centre Pat Howard.

Pat Howard runs in for a try Howard joins Hanrahan at the Saints. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Otherwise, Jim Mallinder has largely looked to native players, with England tighthead prop Kieran Brookes looking like a brilliant signing. Leicester back row Jamie Gibson is another sharp acquisition, while Sale back row/lock Michael Paterson has also come on board.

Sale Sharks

Sale’s recruitment hasn’t been extensive, but the capture of 37-year-old Peter Stringer might have won them a few new Irish supporters.

The Corkman is joined by former All Blacks lock Bryn Evans, drafted in from Eddie O’Sullivan’s Biarritz, and Leicester hooker Neil Briggs.


Mark McCall’s defending champions – who face Ulster in the Champions Cup pool stages – have retained faith in their title-winning squad and have made just three new signings this summer.

Powerful Fiji-born Italy international back row Samu Vunisa joins from Zebre, while the recent South African influence within the club grows with the addition of Michael Rhodes from the Stormers.

Promising back row Joel Conlon has made the switch from Exeter.


With Andy Goode heading for London Irish, Jimmy Gopperth has been brought in at out-half by Wasps, his Leinster teammate Brendan Macken joining him in making the move across from Ireland. Both men may face their former employers in the Champions Cup pool stages.

Jimmy Gopperth Gopperth is back in the Premiership. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Ex-Munster centre James Downey has made his loan move from Glasgow permanent, while scrum-half Dan Robson switches from Gloucester.

The powerful New Zealand-capped Frank Halai is an exciting signing from the Blues, Samoa tighthead prop James Johnston an excellent capture from Harlequins, and 111-times capped Wallaby George Smith potentially the best of the lot.

Worcester Warriors

New boys Worcester have been very busy bringing in new faces, with current Chiefs wing and former New Zealand 7s international Bryce Heem chief among the transfers.

Australian international wing Cooper Vuna further bolsters the wide options, while Samoan international Na’ama Leleimalefaga is a solid capture in the front row.

Ospreys flanker Sam Lewis should adapt well to Premiership rugby, as should Scotland international out-half Tom Heathcote, who joins from Edinburgh. Scrum-half Luke Baldwin and centre/wing Andy Short have both moved from Bristol, whom Worcester beat in the Championship promotion play-off final last season.

33-year-old former England international back row Phil Dowson may be an important addition by director of rugby Dean Ryan.

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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