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A staggering, star-studded Top 14 'new entrants' 23

By Ian Cameron
LEICESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 16: Joe Simmonds (l) and Sam Simmonds of Exeter Chiefs look on during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Leicester Tigers and Exeter Chiefs at Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium on April 16, 2023 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

As the upcoming Top 14 season  looms on the horizon, an impressive influx of new talent from various rugby union competitions around the globe will descend on the monied French league.

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From seasoned international stars to promising young prospects, the league is set to witness a host of marquee players making the leap to cash-rich French clubs.

With it being a Rugby World Cup year, and despite increasingly strict JIFF protocols, the intake is even more star studded than usual. The vast majority of these Top 14 players are new entrants, although we’ve had to cheat a little in one or two positions with players who have already graced the playing fields of France.

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1. Logovi’i Mulipola – Montpellier from Newcastle
Samoa international loosehead Logovi’I Mulipola will make the move to Montpellier from the Newcastle Falcons, bringing his vast experience as a versatile prop to the Top 14.

2. Tolu Latu – Montpellier from Waratahs
Tolu Latu will join Montpellier from the Waratahs, bolstering the team’s front-row options. Technically the Fijian-born Australian international is a re-entrant, having played for Stade Francais in 2022.

3. Nepo Laulala – Toulouse from Blues
All Blacks tighthead Nepo Laulala will transfer from the Blues to Toulouse, adding serious depth and strength to the French club’s scrum.

4. Sam Whitelock – Pau from Crusaders
One of New Zealand’s most iconic players, lock Sam Whitelock, will join his brother Luke when he moves to Pau from the Crusaders, bringing his leadership and experience to the Top 14. Has the small matter of Rugby World Cup to compete in first.

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5. Alun Wyn Jones – Toulon from Ospreys
Wales and British & Irish Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones will move from the Ospreys to Toulon in one of the biggest moves of the off-season.

6. Pete Samu – Bordeaux from Brumbies
Dynamic back-rower Pete Samu will make the switch from the Brumbies to Bordeaux. The Wallabies looseforward bring a tonne of experience to west coast club.

Top 14 Pete Samu
(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

7. Siya Kolisi – Racing 92 from Sharks
Bok hero Siya Kolisi will depart the Sharks to join Racing 92 after the completion of the Rugby World Cup.

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8. Pita-Gus Sowakula – Clermont from Chiefs
Fijian born Number 8 Pita-Gus Sowakula will move from the Chiefs to Clermont, offering his powerful running and physicality to the French side. Having earned a couple of caps for the All Blacks, he was made an offer he couldn’t refuse by the French giants.

9. Brad Webber – Stade Francais from Chiefs
Another big name, All Blacks scrum-half Brad Webber will make the transition from the Chiefs to Stade Francais, bringing his quick decision-making and playmaking abilities.

Weber All Blacks Stade Francais move
(Photo by Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images)

10. Joe Simmonds – Pau from Exeter
Effectively ignored by England, title winning fly-half Joe Simmonds will cross over from Exeter to Pau.

11. Leicester Fainga’anuku – Toulon from Crusaders:
Young and promising wing Leicester Fainga’anuku will leave the Crusaders to join Toulon, hoping to showcase his electrifying pace, power and try-scoring ability in France. A big loss for NZ rugby.

12. Jack Goodhue – Castres from Crusaders
On the margins of the New Zealand setup these days, centre Jack Goodhue opted to venture from the Crusaders to Castres, adding his robust defense, creative play and occasional mullet to the Top 14.

13. Joe Marchant – Stade Francais from Harlequins:
English centre Joe Marchant will move from Harlequins to Stade Francais, bringing his speed and evasive running to the French club. Previously enjoyed a Super Rugby stint with the Blues and having failed to convince England selectors, has opted to swap English capital for the French one.

mouthguards Premiership
(Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

14. Jack Nowell – La Rochelle from Exeter Chiefs:
England wing Jack Nowell will join La Rochelle from Exeter Chiefs. Another player who maybe had lost his grip on an England shirt, largely due to injuries, Nowell declared he would not being available for England’s Rugby World Cup campaign, effectively ending his test career.

15. Reece Hodge – Bayonne from Rebels:
Australian Mr Fix-It Reece Hodge will make the switch from the Rebels to Bayonne, providing the French club with his strong kicking game and a versality few players can boast.

REPLACEMENTS: 

16. Folau Fainga’a – Clermont from Western Force
Folau Fainga’a, the Wallabies’ hooker, will leave the Western Force to join Clermont.

17. Harry Williams – Oyonnax from Exeter
Exeter’s experienced prop Harry Williams will transfer to Oyonnax, lending his size and scrummaging expertise to the French team. Technically a tighthead but he slotting in as our loosehead replacement here.

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18. Carlu Sadie – Bordeaux from Sharks:
Giant South African prop Carlu Sadie will move from the Sharks to Bordeaux, aiming to make his mark in the Top 14 with his 138kg frame.

19. Adam Coleman – Bordeaux from London Irish:
Lock Adam Coleman, a Wallabies veteran, will switch from the now defuncht London Irish to Bordeaux.

20. Sam Simmonds – Montpellier from Exeter
The English back-row sensation, known for his explosive pace and try-scoring prowess, is set to embark on a thrilling journey with Montpellier, leaving a trail of anticipation and excitement in his wake.

21. Jake Gordon – Toulon from Waratahs:
On loan, Australian scrum-half Jake Gordon will transfer from the Waratahs to Toulon, offering his snappy service and tactical awareness.

22. Noah Lolesio – Toulon from Brumbies:
Another loanee, Brumbies fly-half Noah Lolesio will join Toulon after being snubbed by Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones. He’ll be aiming to hone his game management and become a key playmaker for the French club.

23. Thaakir Abrahams – Lyon from Sharks:
Promising South African back Thaakir Abrahams will make the leap from the Sharks to Lyon, seeking to impress with his elusive running and skillful handling.

Honourable mentions:
Marvin Orie – Perpignan from Stormers
Tommy Allan – Perpignan from Harlequins
Rob Simmons – Clermont from London Irish
So’otala Fa’aso’o – Perpignan from London Irish

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1 Comment
R
Rohan 370 days ago

Not even an honourable mention for Ben White?

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