The 5 players tipped to light up new English Premiership season
The 2021/22 Gallagher Premiership rugby season in England promises to be another thrilling domestic campaign. Here, the PA news agency looks at five players who could prove star attractions of English club rugby’s showpiece competition:
LOUIS LYNAGH (Harlequins)
At the age of 20, Lynagh has already left an indelible mark on Harlequins’ rich history by scoring two late tries that secured a first Premiership rugby title since 2012 as Quins beat Exeter 40-38 at Twickenham in June.
The exciting wing is qualified to play for three countries – Italy through birth, England on residency and Australia, with Lynagh’s father Michael an all-time Wallabies great, who helped his country win the 1991 World Cup and amassed 911 Test points. Having made such an impact at Quins last term, it will be fascinating to observe Lynagh’s progress this season as a key weapon in the English champions’ attacking armoury.
FREDDIE STEWARD (Leicester)
Leicester full-back Steward is viewed among English rugby’s brightest prospects. The 20-year-old has already played Test rugby, making his England debut in a 43-29 victory over the United States this summer and impressing numerous observers through his immaculate work under the high ball, all-round defensive excellence and attacking creativity.
He continues to impress as part of a new-look Leicester squad being moulded by head coach Steve Borthwick, and it would be no surprise to see him included in England boss Eddie Jones’ autumn international plans.
"I know international rugby is very different to club rugby and they say ‘you can’t play like that in international rugby’. Why not? Why can’t you?"
– A fan of the World 12s concept, Danny Care sticks the boot in on limited Test XV playing styles https://t.co/9SucnUr7vh
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 10, 2021
ALFIE BARBEARY (Wasps)
If Lady Luck had been on his side, then the chances are that 20-year-old Barbeary would have started this season with Wasps as an England international. But the injury fates conspired against him, so much so that he has played only a fraction of the rugby this year that he would have hoped for. The catalogue of woe began with calf and hamstring problems, then he suffered a fractured cheek and eye socket during club training.
The dynamic back-row forward, who scored three tries on his full club debut a year ago, had targeted making an early impact during Wasps’ domestic campaign and once again showcase the quality that has already made so many sit up and take notice. However, that plan is currently on hold following a hamstring tear during a pre-season match warm-up that will sideline him for at least two months.
JOE SIMMONDS (Exeter)
Exeter fly-half Simmonds might only be 24, but he has already captained the Chiefs to Heineken Champions Cup and Premiership rugby title successes. Such are Exeter’s standards, though, that they will more readily reflect on a trophy-less campaign last season that saw them make a European Cup quarter-final exit and suffer an agonising loss in the Premiership final against Harlequins.
Simmonds, whose older brother Sam set a new Premiership try-scoring record last term and gained British and Irish Lions squad selection, is pivotal to a consistently performing Exeter team. Expect a big season from him.
ADAM RADWAN (Newcastle)
If raw pace terrifies opposition defences, then Newcastle wing Radwan has to be among the Premiership’s most frightening figures. One of the league’s most potent attacking forces, he transferred that reputation onto the international stage this summer as the 23-year-old marked his England debut by scoring three tries against Canada at Twickenham.
His Newcastle strike rate has seen him amass 36 tries from just 46 appearances, and he promises to be a major player in the Falcons’ attempt to make an impact on this season’s Premiership.
It's been an incredibly busy off-season in England and here is the exhaustive list of ins and out at all 13 clubs for the new 2021/22 Premiership campaign https://t.co/GO20PpllQu
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 8, 2021
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