10 best rugby rookies this season, including England star in France and Welsh sensation

Rugby union is quickly catching up with football in its transfer processing, with club jumping gradually becoming a more accepted aspect of modern sport.

But not all signings are producing at the expected level, and it is often the most prominent movers who have the most to fall if they don’t meet expectations.

Likewise, transfers under the radar have the ability to surprise the most, a number of which are among the top performing rookies to date in the 2021/22 campaign.

Looking at last summer’s affairs in the Premiership, United Rugby Championship and France’s Top 14, Sport mirror considers which of these business allegiances most impressed after their first months in a new environment.

Vaea Fifita – From hurricanes to wasps

Vaea Fifita has been a revelation in an otherwise disappointing Wasps campaign so far


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Crashing and slashing his way into contention as arguably the best deal in the Premiership in the final offseason, Wasps lockdown Vaea Fifita has climbed to the top of England like the duck proverbial to the water.

The 12-cap New Zealand international – who was born in Tonga and qualifies to trade test teams next year under World Rugby’s new eligibility laws – has thrived since arriving in Coventry after six years with the Hurricanes in Wellington.

Fifita, 29, added all the line-breaking and ball-unloading skills one would expect from a former 6’5 “, 17-stone All Black, but it’s his surprising turn once it hits the ground running. ‘he’s in the wake that led to two tries in his first eight games with the Wasps.

Who do you think has been rugby’s best rookie this season? Let us know in the “Comments” section.

Anthony Jelonch – Castres to Toulouse

Anthony Jelonch has integrated easily since joining European and French champions Toulouse


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How to react after losing one of the best flankers that rugby has ever produced to Jerome Kaino? If you are from Toulouse, you go to a direct rival in Castres and you sign one of the great French hopes of the name of Anthony Jelonch.

Almost a carbon copy of the great New Zealand in terms of physical dimensions, Jelonch scored four tries in nine appearances for the reigning Top 14 and Champions Cup holders, adding to a back row that already had few weaknesses .

Will Rowlands – From Wasps to Dragons

It’s indicative of Will Rowlands’ impact since arriving at Newport that his contribution has not only been felt by the Dragons, but also by a Wales team desperately seeking the successor of a certain Alun Wyn Jones. .

Passing the 6’8 “lock at Wasps’s Rodney Parade has always felt like a coup, and despite the Dragons still sorely lacking in results, it hasn’t failed to disappoint as an addition. essential to the pack.

Juan Auguste – Stormers at Northampton Saints

Juarno Augustus signing Northampton Saints recently scored a pair of tries in a one-sided win over Bath


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One of two South African investments that have worked extremely well for the Northampton Saints so far this season, former Stormers group Juarno Augustus wasted no time making their way through Chris’s roster Boyd.

After a transition phase, the 116-kilogram behemoth known as ‘Trokkie’ now appears relatively still as Number 8 Saints, bouncing off defenders for fun the same way he did. in Newlands.

The return of a once again fit Teimana Harrison will add a new level of competition for the 24-year-old, but it’s possible that Premiership title contenders Northampton may have stumbled upon a staple for years to come.

Jac Morgan – From Scarlets to Ospreys

The Scarlets ‘loss turned out to be the Ospreys’ gain after their capture of Jac Morgan



It almost seems unfair how blessed Wales are when it comes to back-row options, and Ospreys wonder Jac Morgan is just the latest openside sensation looking set for senior honors.

In truth, the Scarlets rookie might feel aggrieved that his chance didn’t come along in the fall, but such is the level of competition in his specialty area of ​​the peloton.

The Scarlets reasoning deeply about their own strength at openside led Morgan to seek out his first-team opportunities at Swansea, where the 21-year-old only improved his action game by studying with Justin Tupiric.

Paul Garbisi – Benetton to Montpellier

Italian opener Paolo Garbisi watched at home in his new French surroundings


Ettore Griffoni / LiveMedia / NurPhoto)

Knowing that first-choice opener Handre Pollard would indeed miss the first half of this season, Montpellier head coach Philippe Saint-André was aiming high to find a replacement with first-rate potential in Benetton’s Paolo Garbisi.

The effects have also been huge, as Les Cistes jumped from 10th place last season to third place in the Top 14 in the run-up to Christmas, suggesting that there is indeed reason to be hopeful when Pollard joins. Leicester Tigers next year.

Garbisi, 21, stands out as a truly classy prospect within the Italian squad and is currently one of only five players to have accumulated 100 points in the Top 14 this season, playing a role of savior as Montpellier is back in the title race.

Benhard Janse van Rensburg – Green Rockets Tokatsu to London Irish

Japan has broadened its reach in recent years as a lucrative refuge for the elite, but the success of Benhard Janse van Rensburg at London Irish is proof that there are also valuable deals to be made on behalf of the suitors. Europeans.

The former Sharks and Cheetahs center has fitted in well with Declan Kidney after a short stint at Green Rockets Tokatsu, and the 24-year-old is starting to add a more offensive threat to his superb defensive skills.

Courtnall Skosan – From Lions to Saints of Northampton

Northampton Saints signing Courtnall Skosan has scored nine tries in the club’s first eight outings


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Courtnall Skosan has spoken openly about how his family has integrated into English life since leaving South Africa this summer, and his performances on the pitch are also a mark of a man who is at comfortable in their environment.

Franklin’s Gardens fans will agree that the former Lions star – capped 12 times for the Springboks – has adjusted well with the Northampton Saints, having crossed the whitewash nine times in his first eight appearances for the Premiership outfit.

This included a first hat trick against the Worcester Warriors and scores in back-to-back Champions Cup matches, solidifying his place as one of the dangerous new men to play among Europe’s top elite.

Zach Mercer – Bath to Montpellier

Garbisi isn’t the only new face at GGL Stadium who has helped turn Montpellier’s fortunes under former France boss Philippe Saint-André this season, a feat in which England international Zach Mercer can also say that he had an important hand.

It is much less common for England players to cross the Channel to gain Top 14 experience, but Mercer is thriving after leaving Bath this summer and has little reason to regret, especially given the struggles of his former side. the basis of the Premiership since its departure. .

Mercer, 24, said he opted for the switch after not hearing England boss Eddie Jones “for a long time”, and the appeal seems justified after he featured prominently for Montpellier and impressed as the No. 8 top pick.

Adam Hastings – Glasgow Warriors in Gloucester

Adam Hastings transformed Gloucester’s fortunes, with the club having lost just once in seven Premiership games since taking over as a starter 10


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Adam Hastings’ first Premiership stint with Bath may have been fairly mundane, but after honing his craft with the Glasgow Warriors over four seasons, the Scotland international has a whole different appearance at Gloucester.

While it would be unfair to blame compatriot Lloyd Evans for the Cherry and Whites starting their Premiership season 0-2, there has also been a marked improvement since Hastings took the No.10 shirt in week 3.

Only four England Premier League players have more than his 69 points this quarter despite a late start, and Hastings, son of British and Irish Lions legend Gavin, looks like the royal heir following the departure of Danny Cipriani in the middle of the last campaign.

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