With Premiership clubs set to confirm their playing squad for the 2022/23 season over the next few weeks, there are a raft of signings being confirmed, rumors floating around and deals still up in the air.
Here is the latest look at the rumors and confirmed moves around the Gallagher Premiership.
Judge set to switch Warriors for Saracens
Saracens have brought prop Christian Judge back to the StoneX Stadium according to the latest reports.
Director of rugby Mark McCall is in need of a replacement for South African World Cup winning tighthead Vincent Koch who is joining Wasps in the summer and The Rugby Paper reports he has opted to sign former Bath Rugby and now Worcester Warriors front rower Judge.
Judge, still just 29, has a Champions Cup winners medal having won the European prize while on a highly successful loan spell with Saracens in 2018/19, making 21 appearances for the club.
Wasps second row in talks over Japan move
Long-serving Wasps forward James Gaskell is reportedly ‘in talks’ about a move to Japan.
The 6ft 7in tall lock/flanker has made 152 appearances for the Black and Golds since joining Gallagher Premiership rivals Sale Sharks in 2014.
However, injuries and the form of others have limited the 31-year-old to just 11 appearances this season and it appears he could be heading out the door this summer.
The Rugby Paper reported that Gaskell is ‘in talks’ with a Japanese club regarding a move to League One side.
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Bath looking at additional fly-half options
Bath Rugby are still open to bringing in an additional fly-half option, head coach Neal Hatley has confirmed.
Former England international Danny Cipriani standoff and injured South African fly-half Tian Schoeman are both leaving the club in the summer, with Cipriani announcing a move abroad and the latter moving to Newcastle Falcons.
Despite two fly-halves departing, Bath have confirmed just one man in-coming in the shape of Northampton Saint’s Piers Francis.
Hatley said: “We’ve got Piers (Francis) coming in, and Orlando (Bailey).
“If we find anyone else between now and then that can add value to the squad we’ll look at that.”
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Bristol fly-half set for cross-Channel switch
Bristol Bears fly-half Tiff Eden looks set to follow clubmates John Afoa and Alapati Leiua in playing in France next season.
Former All Black tighthead prop Afoa and Samoan international winger Leiua will both join ProD2 side RC Vannes next season, and Eden, 27, is reported to be on the verge of joining them making a living across the Channel according to The Rugby Paper.
Former Nottingham stand-off Eden joined the Bears in the summer of 2018/19 but has only had sporadic appearances for the first team, featuring in 15 Premiership matches so far during his four seasons at the club and spending time on loan at Championship side Hartpury .
With USA international AJ MacGinty joining Bristol Bears from Sale Sharks in the summer to compete for the 10 jersey with Welsh international Callum Sheedy and to a lesser extent the versatile Ioan Lloyd, Eden’s future at the club looked in doubt from the moment the headline signing was confirmed.
South African lock links up with Quins
Harlequins have confirmed the signing of second row Irné Herbst ahead of the 2022/23 season
Joining from United Rugby Championship side Benetton Rugby following a five-year stint with the Italian club, Herbst will bolster Harlequins’ second row options next season.
The 29-year-old forward emerged as a clear talent during his time in the age grade programs in South Africa, appearing for the South Africa Schools and South Africa U20 sides during his time with the Blue Bulls in Pretoria.
The 6’6”, 121kg lock kicked off his senior rugby career with the Bulls in the Provincial Cup and Currie Cup competitions before graduating to Super Rugby with the Southern Kings in 2017 prior to moving to Italy to join Benetton.
Playing in both the European Challenge Cup and Heineken Champions Cup before helping Benetton lift the Pro14 Rainbow Cup in 2021, the physical tight five forward is well versed in the highest levels of Northern Hemisphere club rugby.
Quins Head Coach Tabai Matson said: “We have been looking to secure the signing of a physically dominant second row and Irne is someone we believe will fit in well within our system.
“Irné has proven during his time throughout the age grades in South Africa and within the highest level of club rugby that he is a relentless, hard-working lock that can offer a point of difference for us around the park and at the set-piece .”
Former Bath and Gloucester lock Garvey retires
Second row Matt Garvey has announced that he will retire from rugby at the end of the season.
Garvey, 34, brings the curtain down on a 13-year playing career that took him from London Irish, to Bath, then Gloucester with his final season coming with Worcester Warriors.
Garvey also won representative honors with England Saxons and captained Bath between 2017 and 2019 during his seven-year stint at The Rec.
Garvey said: “I have loved every minute of my 13 seasons in professional rugby and it’s something that I never thought that I would have been able to achieve.
“I have made some friends in rugby that transcend the sport and I am grateful to all the clubs that game me the opportunity to represent them.
“Running out at Twickenham with my two kids as captain of Bath in The Clash was a treasured moment as he was playing in a Premiership final.
“Rugby has also given me the chance to travel all over Europe and play in some of the biggest stadiums. It’s given me the chance to see different places and to play with and against some world-class players.
“A huge thank you to my family who have supported me through my rugby journey and also to all the coaches and team-mates who have helped me throughout my career.”
Garvey has made more than 180 Premiership appearances since he made his debut for London Irish as a replacement against Bath in February 2010 with his most recent coming against Harlequins at Sixways in February.
He also made 47 appearances in European competition, 30 of them in what is now the Heineken Champions Cup.
Championship star signs for Bristol Bears
Bristol Bears have surprised no one by offering Championship jewel Rich Lane on a two-year deal following an impressive loan spell at Ashton Gate Stadium.
The full-back joined on loan from Championship side Bedford Blues in February and made five eye-catching appearances for the Bears, scoring one try before breaking his foot in his European Heineken Champions Cup debut against Sale.
The 28-year-old, who captained Bedford and was named in the Championship Team of the Season in 2021, will make the switch ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.
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Former Bristol favorite leaves Worcester Warriors
Scrum coach Mark Irish will leave Worcester Warriors for personal reasons and by mutual agreement at the end of the season, the club have confirmed.
Irish, 40, arrived at Sixways in the summer of 2020 from Bristol Bears where he was also a scrum coach having made almost 150 appearances for Bristol in an eight-year playing career and also had spells with Bridgwater & Albion, Gloucester Newbury and London Scottish.
He moved into coaching, initially with Bristol’s Academy and England Students, before taking on responsibilities with the senior squad at Ashton Gate in 2018, following Jonathan Thomas to Worcester. Former Wales international Thomas left his role as Worcester head coach earlier this season.
Defense coach Easter Wasps Falcons for Warriors
Worcester Warriors have appointed former England number eight Nick Easter as the club’s new Defense and Forwards Coach.
Easter will arrive at Sixways ahead of the 2022/23 from Newcastle Falcons where he is Defense Coach. He will take over the Defense Coach role from Jonny Bell, who is re-joining Ulster at the end of the current season, and take on the Forwards Coach duties previously held by Jonathan Thomas, who left Warriors in January.
Before that Easter had two seasons in Super Rugby as Defense and Forwards Coach with Durban-based Sharks and two seasons as Defense Coach of Harlequins, the club has represented a record 281 times.
Easter won 54 caps between 2007 and 2015 and played in three Rugby World Cups and will bring outstanding playing and coaching experience at the top level to his new role at Sixways.
Deano departs at director of rugby at Newcastle
Dean Richards will step down as Newcastle Falcons’ director of rugby at the end of the current season, with head coach Dave Walder taking charge of rugby matters.
After 25 years as a director of rugby, the last ten of those at Newcastle, Richards has taken the decision to step aside, although his vast experience will still be utilized in a new part-time consultancy role.
Former England fly-half Walder, a two-time cup winner with the Falcons as a player, will take overall charge, with current coaches Mark Laycock, Micky Ward and Scott MacLeod all remaining on the staff, and Mark Wilson also expected to become a member of the coaching team.