Friday, August 29, 2014

Everything you ever wanted to know about new signings in the Guinness Pro 12 but were afraid to ask!


This is just a quick look and the comings and goings in the off season. Starting off with Leinster, who welcome a rake of academy players to the senior side. The academy is an important part of Leinster’s success over the last few years, and I’d pick out  adhg Furlong and Luke McGrathas the ones to watch. The big signing is lock Kane Douglas (Waratahs) who will give a badly needed boost to the second row reserves. The interesting signing is from rugby league, destined for the midfield, Ben Te'o (South Sydney Rabbitohs). There’s a bit of coals to Newcastle getting a new midfield player – at worst, he’ll only last a few months like Benji Marshall at the Auckland Blues, at best, we could have the next Israel Folau! In the departures, legends both in BOD and Leo, and sorry to see Conor Gilsenan gone so soon.

Munster have two big signings, Robin Copeland (Cardiff Blues) – bit of coals to Newcastle there too, as Munster have loose forwards to burn, and Tyler Bleyendaal (Crusaders)   who should be very useful in the midfield. Their biggest loss is James Coughlan, for his play and leadership.

Ulster welcome Ruaidhr√≠ Murphy (Brumbies), and two quality South Africans,  Franco van der Merwe (Lions),  and Louis Ludik (SU Agen). Franco is a great lock, and Louis a very useful full back/utility back. Quite a lot of departures for Ulster (not including coach and director of rugby!) John Afoa is the biggest, and the retirements of Johann Muller, Paddy Wallace, and Stephen Ferris.

Connacht get Quinn Roux and John Cooney (both Leinster, loan), hot property in New Zealand centre Bundee Aki and classy former All Black Mils Muliaina (both Chiefs). They have two big losses, Dan Parks (retired), and Eoin Griffin (London Irish) – I think Eoin should have stuck it out at Connacht for a little longer.

Cardiff Blues welcome Jarrad Hoeata (Highlanders), Gareth Anscombe (Chiefs), Adam Jones (Ospreys), great players all

The Dragons have Aled Brew (Biarritz Olympique), Lee Byrne (Clermont Auvergne) with them and back in Wales, which evens up the outgoings to France a bit.

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