Wednesday, December 1

Premiership rugby 2021-22: complete guide club by club of the season | Premiership


Bath continues to run hot and cold depending on how quickly Danny Cipriani settles in at No. 10 instead of the more stable Rhys Priestland, who has returned home to Wales. Bath will miss forwards Zach Mercer and Henry Thomas, who have joined Montpellier, but Stormers number 8 Jaco Coetzee should provide vital power to carry the ball. Joe Cokanasiga has been showing flashes of his old form and it will be a key season for England’s forgotten wing.
Key player Jaco Coetzee Man in charge Stuart hooper
Last season Seventh Prediction Seventh

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Bristol board

How the Bears rebound from the trauma of losing that play-off semifinal to Harlequins after finishing the regular season at the top of the pile will be instructive and we can get a glimpse of their progress when they face a weakened Saracens in his first game on Friday night. Bristol will be among the challengers again, but they will miss Saracen borrowers Ben Earl and Max Malins. The Ashton Gate atmosphere should inspire them and any team with Semi Radradra and Charles Piutau behind them is a threat.
Key player Semi Radrada Man in charge Pat lam
Last season 1st (beaten in play-offs) Prediction Sixth

Semi Radradra will always be a threat to Bristol
Semi Radradra will always be a threat to Bristol. Photograph: Patrick Khachfe / JMP / REX / Shutterstock


The Chiefs will still scratch their heads when they think about their final loss in the play-offs. Nothing much has changed at Sandy Park and there has been no rush to recruit, but Exeter still looks like the most powerful squad in the country and once the group moves forward it’s hard to stop them. Tomas Francis has returned to Wales, but Waikato’s Josh Iosefa-Scott and former Bath mainstay Sam Nixon will provide solid front row cover. A fit Jack Nowell will be vital for the Chiefs and England.
Key player Joe simmonds Man in charge Rob baxter
Last season 2nd (defeated in the final) Prediction 1st


Any team with a would-be full-back three of Louis Rees-Zammit, Ollie Thorley and Jonny May can rampage, but the big question mark looms over the effectiveness of forwards, at this traditionally forward-loving club, to provide them with a fast ball. . The arrival of Adam Hastings is welcome and on a new field of plastic, George Skivington’s team will be looking to move the ball quickly, but his team may struggle, especially on their travels.
Key player Chris harris Man in charge George Skivington
Last season 11th Prediction 11th

Louis Rees-Zammit may provide an attacking outlet for Gloucester
Louis Rees-Zammit can provide an attacking outlet for Gloucester. Photograph: Andy Watts / JMP / REX / Shutterstock


That epic final victory makes Quins unlikely champions and if a replay seems unlikely, they’ll continue to play swashbuckling rugby with Marcus Smith delivering the style behind an underrated group. Tommaso Allan has joined from Treviso to provide cover for the fly-half and Danny Care continues to show why Eddie Jones leaving him on the grass was premature. Huw Jones, the Scottish center, is a very useful addition to the Glasgow Warriors.
Key player Danny Care Man in charge Tabai matson
Last season 4th (final winner) Prediction Room


Something is finally moving in the East Midlands, where Steve Borthwick is building a group of strikers in his own image of steel. The signing of Marco van Staden from the Bulls has reinforced a group of tough South African forwards, while George Martin and Harry Wells are two young forwards who will soon find their way into the England team. Australian recruit Bryce Hegarty could be an important signing. He can play wing or fly and fill a gap left by the signing of Zack Henry to France.
Key player Bryce hegarty Man in charge Steve Borthwick
Last season Sixth Prediction 2nd

London Irish

The Exiles have a new home in Brentford, which is one of the premiership’s best venues, but they may have a hard time keeping their crowds happy. Blair Cowan, his talisman in the back row, has gone to Japan and while Albert Tuisue and Sean O’Brien provide great experience, their team lacks depth. Ollie Hassell-Collins is one of the best of a crop of young English wings and Paddy Jackson is a crafty operator in the middle of the fly.
Key player Marcel van der merwe Man in charge Declan Kidney
Last season Nineth Prediction 13

Ollie Hassell-Collins is one of the brightest young English wings in the game.
Ollie Hassell-Collins is one of the brightest young English wings in the game. Photograph: MI News / NurPhoto / REX / Shutterstock


The Falcons skyrocketed like a train last season, but no Premiership team has lost another crowd. Dean Richards has looked at his old club, the Harlequins, for a couple of key signings in veteran Mike Brown and, perhaps more significantly, wing Nathan Earle. Earle has had no luck with injuries, but he and Adam Radwan, with their breakneck pace, can be a threat and Newcastle have a strong, mobile package that can help them thrive on the plastic court at Kingston Park.
Key player Nathan earle Man in charge Dean richards
Last season Tenth Prediction Tenth


The Saints had a sorry losing streak at home last season and Chris Boyd’s team can be wildly inconsistent. The signing of Courtnall Skosan, a wing of the Sigma Golden Lions, is interesting and the Saints should be entertaining. But a lot depends on his old bosses, Courtney Lawes and Dan Biggar, who played such an important role with the Lions this summer. Another Stormers signing, young No. 8 Juarno Augustus, will help put the Saints up front.
Key player Courtnall skosan Man in charge Chris boyd
Last season Fifth Prediction Nineth

Northampton relies heavily on Courtney Lawes
Northampton relies heavily on Courtney Lawes. Photograph: David Rogers / Getty Images


Sale’s new signings, Tommy Taylor, Simon McIntyre and Nick Schonert, show where the Sharks are. All are uncompromising front-row forwards who will bolster a group from which few will benefit. Alex Sanderson has transformed the club after the unfortunate departure of Steve Diamond and his group of South Africans along with people like the Curry brothers will make them hard to beat. The sale will be on the title mix starting in the spring.
Key player Tom curry Man in charge Alex sanderson
Last season Third Prediction Fifth


The Saracens are back from their championship exile and will once again be Premiership challengers. There are few new faces, but some major returning players, Ben Earl, Max Malins, Nick Tompkins and Alex Lozowski from their Montpellier loan. It may be a while before their Lions are back in the first team, but the Saracens, especially if Billy Vunipola finds his mojo, will be itching to untangle some noses. Expect to see them in another Premiership final.
Key player Billy Vunipola Man in charge Mark McCall
Last season Championship champions Prediction Third

Billy Vunipola
Can Billy Vunipola rediscover his mojo? Photograph: James Chance / Getty Images


One of the key signings of the summer was John Mitchell, who has turned his back on Eddie Jones to return to the coaching staff of his old club. Wasps will be without injured Joe Launchbury, Jack Willis and Paolo Odogwu for the first part of the season. They will be key absences. Hopefully, Alfie Barbeary’s return from a streak of injuries will help make up for it. Barbeary is the unpolished gem of English rugby, a ball carrier at home on hooker or in the back row. Nizaam Carr’s return to the back row is a bonus.
Key player Alfie Barbeary Man in charge Lee Blackett
Last season Eighth Prediction Eighth


The Warriors didn’t live up to their name last season, somehow the worst team in the division. But no club has recruited and discharged players in such spectacular fashion. Duncan Weir has returned to Scotland, but two of the most striking signings are traveling the other way, recent lions Rory Sutherland and Duhan van der Merwe, while Gloucester stalwarts Willi Heinz and Matt Garvey are other important sacks. 19-year-old Fin Smith is a prodigiously talented No. 10 and should fill Weir’s boots in no time. It may be another long winter in Sixways, but the only way is up.
Key player Duhan van der merwe Man in charge Alan Solomons
Last season 12 Prediction 12

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