Premiership Rugby 2017-18: Who has signed who and what it means for next season's battle for honours

 
Bob Baker
Follow Bob
Super Rugby Rd 1 - Waratahs v Force
Saracens have added Australia man-mountain Will Skelton to their Champions Cup-winning ranks (Source: Getty)

It is a struggle to pick many Premiership teams that will have a stronger squad going into the 2017-18 season than the one that finished the previous year.

Saracens have made some shrewd additions including the monstrous Will Skelton and the Lions’ 90m man Liam Williams, but on balance they are probably unchanged given the loss of Chris Ashton to Toulon in addition to a few retirees.

There can be no argument that maintaining the quality of a European champion squad is not a bad place to start.

Worcester have added David Denton from Bath and Ethan Waller from Northampton Saints. Scotland forward Denton is a notable international and if on song could be one of the best eighth men in the Premiership.

Bath Rugby v Wasps - Aviva Premiership
Scotland forward David Denton (centre) is swapping Bath for Worcester (Source: Getty)

Waller has the potential to make a name for himself away from Northampton, where he was afforded little opportunity in the front row in the presence of older sibling Alex in addition to the England-capped Paul Hill and Kieran Brookes.

Sale have made the headlines adding South Africa scrum-half Faf de Klerk and Australia flyer James O’Connor, in addition to Jono Ross, the Stade Francais back-rower who was once a member of the Harlequins academy.

Read more: Lions' travelling army must find their voice to beat All Blacks

They have, however, said goodbye to Peter Stringer, Mike Phillips and human cannonball Sam Tuitupou, all of whom have been the load-bearing vertebrae of the Sharks’ backbone throughout the last few campaigns.

Newcastle have been savvy in adding France centre Maxime Mermoz, Canada speedster DTH van der Merwe and in welcoming Toby Flood back to the club of his youth.

Bath Rugby v Leicester Tigers - Aviva Premiership
France centre Maxime Mermoz is among Newcastle's canny acquisitions (Source: Getty)

London Irish have upgraded, but they needed to and it remains to be seen whether they have in fact traded up to the extent necessary.

Wasps have added Juan de Jongh and Marcus Watson but will be light of Kurtley Beale and Frank Halai.

Leicester Tigers have got George Ford, but lost Owen Williams and Freddie Burns and, with Ford tied up on England duty, it is hard to see Matt Williams’s side making a more forceful challenge than they mustered in the previous competitions’ latter stages.

Although there is still a six-week window during which new faces will be added to squads halfway through their pre-season schedules, the later additions will be the gap fillers, not the faces of the clubs’ marketing materials.

Even if there is little to report in terms of inspirational signings and stand-out coups, a less disparate league should add to its appeal.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

Related articles