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Bristol Post
Bristol Post
John Evely

Rugby transfer rumours and news: Saracens, Bath, Bristol Bears and Saints looking to add London Irish stars

London Irish's earth-shattering suspension from the Gallagher Premiership ahead of next season means once again the rugby transfer market has been followed with top-class talent from a squad that finished fifth in the league last season.

There are plenty of other players on the move or looking for jobs as well with clubs having to trim their belts so here are all rugby transfer rumours and gossip, confirmed moves, retirements and contract renewals....

READ MORE: Rugby transfer rumours and news: Leicester Tigers star heading to France, Sale Sharks set for superstar signing

Saracens linked with trio of London Irish stars

Premiership champions Saracens are reportedly set to hold talks with London Irish trio Will Joseph, Ollie Hoskins and Ben Loader about making the short trip to the StoneX Stadium following the Exiles' suspension from the Gallagher Premiership next season.

England international centre Joseph could come in as a replacement for the retiring Duncan Taylor while one cap Australian international tighthead prop Hoskins will likely find himself with plenty of suitors and a useful addition for Sarries with Marco Riccioni set to miss the start of the season on World Cup duty with Italy, and Christian Judge the next man in line.

The addition of Ben Loader would signal Anthony Watson's potential switch from Leicester Tigers is well and truly off the cards.

Northampton Saints set to pip Bath to sign Breakthrough Player of the Year

Bath Rugby look set to miss out on signing powerful flanker Tom Pearson, who was named with the Breakthrough Player of the Season at the Premiership Rugby Awards just a couple of weeks ago and is expected to be named in Steve Borthwick’s England training squad ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

The 23-year-old is one of the jewels in the crown of London Irish who were last night suspended from the Gallagher Premiership after failing to show they had the finances in place to fund the entire 2023/24 season.

The Telegraph report Northampton Saints are now favourites for his signature having had unexpected space open up in their salary cap following the departure of Wallabies international Lukhan Salakaia-Loto.

Bath Rugby open talks with out-of-work England international

Bath Rugby will hold talks with England star Henry Arundell this week about joining the club ahead of next season after it was confirmed that London Irish have been suspended from the Gallagher Premiership.

The Telegraph report Arundell, 20, who can play both at full-back and on the wing from where he scored a try on his England debut during the series win against Australia in 2022, will speak to Bath head of rugby Johann van Graan this week about a return to the Recreation Ground having been in the club’s academy as a junior while a pupil at Beechen Cliff School. His father’s work took him away from the area and into the laps of London Irish.

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Exiles scrum-half set to be offered United Rugby Championship lifeboat

International scrum-half Ben White looks set to be rescued from unemployment following London Irish's suspension from the Scottish Rugby Union.

The Telegraph report the SRU are are keen on signing him on a central contract with a move to United Rugby Championship Edinburgh Rugby his most likely destination.

Josh Beaumont of Sale Sharks (Getty Images)

Sale Sharks hand lock new contract

Second-row Josh Beaumont has been handed a new one-year deal with Sale Sharks after a comeback season that saw him play 26 games as the club reached the Twickenham showpiece for the first time in 17 years.

Beaumont, 31, has played more than 160 games for Sale since making his debut in a Heineken Cup clash with Montpellier in 2013.

Alun Wyn Jones, Captain of the British and Irish Lions poses for a photo with a toy Lion during the British and Irish Lions Squad and Captain Announcement on May 06, 2021 (Getty Images)

Bristol Bears, Bath Rugby and Gloucester ‘interested’ in signing Wales legend Alun Wyn Jones

Wales and British and Irish Lions legend Alun Wyn Jones has been linked with a shock move across the bridge with a trio of West Country giants reportedly interested in adding his services.

WalesOnline report Bath, Bristol Bears, and Gloucester are all potentially open to exploring signing the record-breaking 170-cap international lock ahead of the 2023/24 season despite the former Wales captain being 37-years-old.

Last month the second row announced his international retirement meaning any potential future club would not have to worry about losing Jones to Wales duty during the World Cup and beyond, making his signature a more attractive prospect.

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Welsh and French clubs chase international released by Bath Rugby

Cardiff Rugby, despite their well-reported financial problems, are reported to be leading the way to sign released Scottish international tighthead prop D’arcy Rae.

However, according to The Rugby Paper, the financially struggling Welsh region, are now facing competition from French Top 14 new boys Oyonnax who have been promoted from the ProD2 as champions.

Cardiff are in need of a replacement for departing Welsh international tighthead Dillon Lewis, who is joining Harlequins next season, and Moldovan mountain Dmitri Arhip who was named amongst 16 players moving on from Arms Park this summer.

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Bristol Bears linked with move for London Irish powerhouse

Bristol Bears are closely monitoring the situation at London Irish with director of rugby Pat Lam sensing an opportunity to strengthen his frontrow according to the latest reports.

The Rugby Paper report Bristol are set to make an offer to sign 30-year-old Zimbabwean tighthead prop Lovejoy Chawatama following the Exiles' demise.

Chawatama is familiar with Bristol having studied Construction and Management at the University of West England. During his time in the city he also played for local club Clifton RFC and Bridgewater & Albion.

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Stade Francais confirm the signing of Joe Marchant after announcing 13 departers

Stade Francais have confirmed Harlequins and England centre Joe Marchant will join the club next season.

His announcement comes after the Paris club announced 13 players will move on this summer including Paolo Odogwu and Vincent Koch, their two mid-campaign recruits from Wasps following their financial collapse in the Autumn.

Confirmed departers: Arthur Coville (Provence), Alex Arrate, Jame Hall (Racing), Marcis Kremer (Clermont), Sione Tui (Provence), Telusa Veainu (Sale), Harry Glover, Nemo Roelofse (Perpignan), Morgan Parra (Stade Francais coaching staff), Theo Dachary, Vincent Koch, Paolo Odogwu, Sitaleki Timani. Coaches Gonzalo Quesada and Laurent Sempere will also exit.

Jimmy Gopperth of Wasps (David Howlett, Whisper Photography)

Former Leicester Tigers and Wasps veteran signs for French ProD2 side

French ProD2 side Provence Rugby have confirmed the signing of departing Leicester Tigers fly-half/centre Jimmy Gopperth has signed up for one season.

Gopperth, who will turn 40 later this month, has been brought into the club in a bid to push for Top 14 promotion according to the statement from the club confirming his signing.

Saints flanker leaves Franklin's Gardens for France

Northampton Saints backrow Karl Wilkins has left the club for ProD2 outfit US Montauban.

The 27-year-old joined Saints from AS Béziers Hérault ahead of the 2021/22 campaign, and went on to make 14 appearances in Black, Green and Gold over his two seasons in Northampton, scoring one try against Leicester Tigers.

Originally coming through the Saints Academy system, Wilkins was part of the Northampton squad that won the Premiership’s Under-18 Academy League in 2013/14 before leaving for ASM Clermont Auvergne in France aged 18.

The Ipswich-born flanker then rejoined boyhood club Saints after making over 50 appearances for French ProD2 side Béziers since his arrival from Clermont in 2016.

Leicester Tigers winger Potter joins the Force

Super Rugby side Western Force have confirmed the signing of Leicester Tigers back Harry Potter who has signed a deal through to 2025.

The 25-year-old had a rapid rise at the Leicester Tigers earning 67 caps

Born in Wimbledon England and raised in Melbourne, the outside back has been on the fringes of Eddie Jones' England squad in recent years. Eligible for both England and Australia Potter, is on an upwards trajectory for an international rise.

Potter had a brief stint with the Melbourne Rebels in 2020 before moving to England’s top division.

Potter said: "The way we played rugby at Leicester was great and I learned a lot, it suited me in many ways, but now I need a new challenge to what the Northern Hemisphere offers.

"I was in Super Rugby for such a short time, so it's always been my goal to return and make my Super Rugby debut. I am looking forward to the opportunity to learn new skill sets and will embrace the differences rugby in Australia provides.

Former Exeter Chiefs prop signs for Blackheath

Blackheath Rugby have confirmed the signing of tighthead prop Jack Owlett.

A former student at Exeter University, Owlett played for Scotland U19 and U20, and was picked up by the Exeter Chiefs, where he joined their Academy after university.

After a few seasons at Cornish Pirates and Wasps, Owlett joins the club from Worcester Warriors.

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