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Welsh rugby enveloped in its latest existential crisis

As Wayne Pivac teeters on the edge of finding new gainful employment after a series of disappointing results, the wider-lens story tells of dysfunction and frustration

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The 21 biggest Premiership and URC signings ahead of 2022/23

By Stefan Frost
(Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

As the northern hemisphere’s rugby calendars approx their climax, attention is beginning to turn to next season. For months, teams have been preparing and reshuffling their squads, releasing and scouting players.

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Numerous blockbuster trades have already been confirmed and below RugbyPass takes a look at some of the biggest transfers in the Gallagher Premiership and URC.

George Ford to Sale Sharks
The Leicester talisman is enjoying a stellar season with the table toppers and could easily lead his side to Premiership glory in a month’s time. Regardless of how the season ends though, he will be heading north to join Sale, replacing AJ MacGinty who has agreed terms with Bristol.

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Pita Pens & More French Wins | Le French Rugby Podcast | Episode 29
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Pita Pens & More French Wins | Le French Rugby Podcast | Episode 29

Anthony Watson to Leicester Tigers
Injuries have plagued Anthony Watson’s last few seasons at Bath and he will hope that a change of scene will bring with it a change of fortune. Leicester will boast an impressive back three next season, as Watson unites with fellow Englishmen Chris Ashton and Freddie Steward.

Handré Pollard to Leicester Tigers
Losing Ford was a blow for Leicester but bringing in World Cup winner Handré Pollard in his place was a phenomenal pickup. The fly-half is a premium game manager and has been in impressive form this year, helping push Montpellier to the top of the Top 14.

Leicester Borthwick
(Photo by Romain Perrocheau/AFP via Getty Images)

Ellis Genge to Bristol Bears
Ellis Genge will return to his hometown of Bristol to play alongside fellow England front row Kyle Sinckler. ‘Baby rhino’ has been captaining Leicester to great effect this campaign but will only hold that position for a single year after making the decision to move south.

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Tom O’Flaherty to Sale Sharks
The fast feet of Tom O’Flaherty will be travelling to Sale in what has been a very underrated coup from the Manchester team. O’Flaherty has been an impressive servant for Exeter, commanding the high ball while also unleashing attacking flourishes that have ripped apart opposition defences.

Jonny Hill to Sale Sharks
Exeter have had incredible second row depth for some time now but with the scheduled departure of Jonny Hill, engine room stocks will be weakened. The England lock has decided to join fellow Chiefs player O’Flaherty at Sale.

Piers Francis to Bath
Piers Francis has been with the Northampton Saints since 2017 and has chosen to change green for blue with a move to Bath. The centre will hope he can be a key cog in helping revive a Bath team that has struggled this season.

Magnus Bradbury to Bristol Bear
Scotland international Magnus Bradbury will join Bristol from Edinburgh this summer. Bradbury has 18 international caps to his name and will give the southerners much needed steel in their back row, following the confirmed departure of Nathan Hughes to Clermont.

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Gopperth Wasps
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Jimmy Gopperth to Leicester Tigers
Jimmy Gopperth might be at the ripe old age of 38 but he isn’t showing signs of slowing down. The New Zealand born fly-half has been a loyal servant to Wasps since 2015 and, after not earning a contract extension, he will be joining Leicester to work alongside Pollard.

Vincent Koch to Wasps
Vincent Koch won pretty much every single piece of silverware he could during his time with Saracens, including a World Cup medal. Whether he picks up silverware at Coventry remains to be seen but his arrival will no doubt help strengthen the Wasps pack.

Hame Faiva to Worcester Warriors
The New Zealand born Hame Faiva will move from Benetton to Worcester this summer, a year after making his international debut for Italy. How this move will impact the future of his international career is unclear.

Callum Braley to Northampton Saints
After spending a two-year stint with Benetton, Callum Braley will return to England to join the Northampton Saints. The scrum half impressed for Italy early this year in the Six Nations but has taken the difficult decision to retire from international rugby.

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Vaea Fifita to Scarlets
Tongan born New Zealander Vaea Fifita will join Scarlets next season after finishing a short stint with Wasps early. The versatile back row forward has been capped 12 times internationally and will be a good addition to the Welsh outfit.

Malakai Fekitoa to Munster
Malakai Fekitoa is another Tongan star on the move. He will be taking his skills across to Munster, leaving a gaping hole in the Wasps midfield. The strength and handling of the powerful centre will help fill the void left by Damian de Allende’s exit.

Faletau
Taulupe Faletau on the charge /Getty via PA

Taulupe Faletau to Cardiff
Taulupe Faletau is one of the most prolific number eights in world rugby but has endured a frustration few years with Bath due to persistent injury woes. With a return to Wales, Faletau will be hoping to reinvigorate his career as he joins fellow Welshman Josh Navidi in the back row.

Liam Williams to Cardiff
Faletau isn’t the only Welsh star joining Cardiff this off season. Liam Williams will be moving to the Welsh capital after he decided it was time to leave the Scarlets. The fullback has over 100 caps for the provincial side and will considerably strengthen the Cardiff backline.

JP du Preez to Glasgow Warriors
JP du Preez is one of a number of South Africans leaving Sale this summer. The man-mountain is moving further north to Glasgow where he will have the chance to play against more of his fellow countrymen in the URC.

Eben Etzebeth
Eben Etzebeth /Getty

Eben Etzebeth to Sharks
Eben Etzebeth will make a return to South African club rugby this summer with the Sharks. He has endured a turbulent season with Toulon, but could still win the Challenge Cup with them and will rest easy knowing he is joining a team competing at the top of the URC.

Rohan Janse Van Rensburg to Sharks
Joining Etzebeth at the Sharks is fellow South African Rohan Janse Van Rensburg. The centre has been an important piece in the Sale backline, helping the team reach the quarter finals of the Champions Cup this year.

Sbu Nkosi to Sharks
After spending five years with the Sharks, Sbu Nkosi has decided to take on a new challenge by joining the Bulls. The World Cup winning winger is always a threat out wide and will add an extra bit of creativity to the backline.

Sam Skinner to Edinburgh
Exeter’s second row will be further depleted with the departure of Sam Skinner who is heading to Edinburgh. The Scotland international came through the Chiefs’ academy but has decided the time has come to join a Scottish club.

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