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The 12 biggest northern hemisphere signings of the season so far

By Stefan Frost
George Ford /PA

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The northern hemisphere’s rugby calendar may have just past its mid-point but that has not stopped clubs from looking ahead to next season. Cardiff and Sale Sharks have already signed players for the 2022/23 campaign while other sides have managed to drop athletes from their wage bill.


This then begs the question: what are the 12 biggest transfers to have been confirmed so far?

George Ford: Leicester Tigers to Sale Sharks
One of the most surprising transfers to arise of late is George Ford’s departure from the Leicester Tigers. The fly half has represented England 78 times and is a potential contender for player of the season, having revived the Tigers who currently top the Premiership. It has been reported that he has accepted a salary of more than £600,000 yearly to join the lower-mid table Sale Sharks for the 2022/23 season.

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Ellis Genge: Leicester Tigers to Bristol Bears
This season began with Steve Borthwick selecting Ellis Genge as Leicester captain and the season will end with the prop relinquishing that title. Genge joined the Tigers as a budding youngster and will leave as an England starter, returning to the place of his birth, Bristol. The Bears sit 10th in the table but were semi-finalists last season. Genge will be hoping to revive the side where he started his rugby career as he looks forward to playing alongside fellow England prop Kyle Sinckler.

(Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

Handré Pollard: Montpellier to Leicester Tigers
With Ford departing, the Tigers have opted to replaced one international with another. Handré Pollard, a World Cup winner with South Africa, will bring a versatile kicking game to Welford Road as he moves from one winning organisation to another. Montpellier are 2nd in the Top 14 and through to the knockout stages of the European Rugby Champions Cup, spearheaded by the poise of Pollard. Leicester fans will no doubt be pleased with the replacement.

Sam Skinner: Exeter Chiefs to Edinburgh
Sam Skinner’s departure from Exeter is a rather poignant one. He captained the university side there before progressing through the Chiefs academy on his way to becoming a starter. The second row was on the bench for Scotland in their 20-17 victory over England last weekend and has chosen to cement his place in the Scotland set up with a move to Edinburgh.

Exeter Sale Premiership
(Photo by PA)

Jonny Hill: Exeter Chiefs to Sale Sharks
Exeter’s second row will be further weakened this summer by the departure of the internationally capped Englishman Jonny Hill, who plans to move north to Manchester. Hill announced the transfer hours after Skinner and will join up with Ford and England captain Tom Curry come the end of the campaign. Sale are receiving an excellent British and Irish Lions player in Hill, who would be in the England Six Nations squad, had he not suffered a stress fracture to his foot.

Taulupe Faletau: Bath to Cardiff
The Welsh number eight has been capped 86 times internationally and will join Cardiff at the end of the season. Injuries have at times stalled Faletau’s career in Bath, which began in 2016, but during that time he has featured in two Lions tours to New Zealand and South Africa. His departure frees up the number eight jersey for Nathan Hughes.

Thomas Young: Wasps to Cardiff
Thomas Young will join Faletau in Cardiff’s back row next season as he prepares to depart Wasps, for whom he has played since 2014. With only three international caps for Wales, Young will hope this transfer back to the Blues, where he began his professional career, will enliven his chances of wearing the red jersey.

Thomas Young
Thomas Young /PA

Liam Williams: Scarlets to Cardiff
Cardiff have enlisted the expertise of another Lion in the upcoming offseason to strengthen their back three. Liam Williams is departing the Scarlets to move to the Welsh capital and brings plenty of international experience with him. Williams has featured 75 times for Wales, five time for the Lions and has won titles with both Saracens and the Scarlets.

Malakai Fekitoa: Wasps to Munster
Also leaving Wasps is Malakai Fekitoa. The Tongan is taking his talents across to water to Munster – Ireland will be the fourth country in which he has played professional rugby. Fekitoa’s three-year spell in Wasps has brought some success, but he will be happy to move to a strong side which comfortably beat his current one, both home and away, in the European Rugby Champions Cup earlier this season.

Vincent Koch: Saracens to Wasps
Vincent Koch has enjoyed an illustrious four and a half years at Saracens, winning two Premierships and two European Championships in that time. The prop was also part of the South African side that beat England to World Cup glory in 2019. For the 2022/23 season Koch will move to Coventry, where he has signed a long-term deal with Wasps.

Teddy Thomas
Teddy Thomas /Getty Images

Teddy Thomas: Racing 92 to La Rochelle
Teddy Thomas is making a move from Racing 92, who lost in the 2020 Champions Cup final, to La Rochelle, who lost in the 2021 Champions Cup final. The French winger has enjoyed success in Paris, winning the 2016 Top-14 title with Racing, two years after he debuted for Les Bleus. In the 2022/23 season Thomas will try to lead La Rochelle to their maiden Top-14 title.

Melvyn Jaminet: USA Perpignan to Toulouse
A year ago, Melvyn Jaminet was a relative unknown, playing his rugby in the Rugby Pro D2, the French second division. After USA Perpignan won promotion in 2021, Jaminet was called up to the French squad and has now established himself as starting fullback for his country. His rise will continue next season with a move to Toulouse where he will play alongside fellow French internationals Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack.


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