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'The London Irish thing fell through, they didn't have the dollar'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Steve Bardens/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

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The Rugby Pod show co-hosts Andy Goode and Jim Hamilton delved into the latest transfer rumours on this week’s show, providing updates on what they have heard regarding the future next season of Anthony Watson at Bath and Nathan Hughes at Bristol as well as mentioning a curious potential signing for Irish side Leinster from the Top 14. 

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Watson, an England regular who also played in the 2021 Lions Test series down in South Africa, has been sidelined since injuring his ACL playing for Bath last October. With his club in freefall over the winter, it was speculated that the much-admired back three player would quit the Stuart Hooper-run team at the end of his ninth season

However, that might no longer be the case for the 28-year-old Watson now that Bath has revised their plan and have a new head coach arriving for 2022/23 in the guise of South African Johann van Graan from Munster.

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Chris Ashton | Rugby Roots
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Chris Ashton | Rugby Roots

There was also chat about the prospects of where Hughes, the 30-year-old No8 last capped by England in March 2019, might next lay his hat. He was a headline Pat Lam signing for Bristol in summer 2019 from Wasps but things haven’t worked out this season with Hughes currently on loan at Bath and strongly linked with a switch to France

Mention of France, the other prime rumour talked about on The Rugby Pod was an already stacked Leinster possibly signing Charlie Ngatai, the 31-year-old from New Zealand who earned his single All Blacks cap in 2015. He is nearing the end of his fourth season at Lyon in the Top 14 having joined them in 2018 from the Super Rugby Chiefs. 

Here is how the transfer talk segment of The Rugby Pod unfolded this week after presenter Andy Rowe asked Hamilton, the ex-Scotland lock, and Goode, the former England out-half, what rumours had been floating around:   

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Hamilton: Maro Itoje to Worcester. 

Goode: I don’t think is happening, Jim. 

Hamilton: I’m just trying to put something in the mix for Worcester. There is a few. Anthony Watson to Leicester. I heard the London Irish thing fell through, they didn’t have the dollar for him.

Goode: I heard he was staying at Bath now. 

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Hamilton: I’ve heard that as well. I’ve heard that he is staying at Bath but Leicester are the ones that he could go to because the money is there. Wingers don’t get paid as much as we think. 

Goode: No, don’t let him go to Leicester because we want Ashy [Chris Ashton] to get another year.

Hamilton: I want him at Rosslyn Park, that is where I want Ashy to be honest.

Goode: Here’s one for you, Charlie Ngatai – hell of a name, hell of a player – leaving Lyon to go to Leinster. Leinster don’t need any more quality in the centres. They have got internationals galore. Just get a homegrown kid coming through. Yeah, I heard Charlie Ngatai is going to Leinster… Nathan Hughes to Clermont is another one that I am hearing whispers of. 

Hamilton: I heard Bristol wanted him back. 

Goode: I think (that is) more of an injury crisis. It’s interesting when you hear why did he leave Bristol. I don’t know. It’s very strange. 

Hamilton: I don’t know, don’t know. There were people at live shows shouting stuff but I couldn’t hear them. It’s his hair apparently, his lid.  

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