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Every United Rugby Championship transfer signing as Welsh teams’ rivals draft in superstars for new season

The new season is nearly upon us.

The United Rugby Championship kicks off next week as the four South African franchises join the newly-re-branded tournament.

The four Welsh sides have been a little limited with their business, with the pandemic and the Welsh Rugby Union’s handling of payments to the clubs breeding uncertainty.

Despite that, some of the business they’ve done has been fairly impressive – with some English-based Welsh internationals being tempted back across the border.

Cardiff have brought Rhys Priestland back, while the Ospreys have secured a couple of Welsh stars in Tomas Francis and Alex Cuthbert – all players with a host of Welsh caps, but not quite the 60 required to play outside of Wales and still qualify for a Test spot.

The Dragons and Scarlets have looked to the other end of the spectrum, securing players who are at the beginning of their Test careers.

Will Rowlands and WillGriff John know that a place in Wayne Pivac’s squad is dependent on playing in Wales and so moves to Rodney Parade and Parc y Scarlets have materialised.

However, it becomes apparent how the regions are effectively working with one arm tied behind their back when you see the stars that their URC rivals can bring in.

Ulster’s acquisition of Springbok World Cup winner Duane Vermeulen alone is proof of that.

With that in mind, here’s every piece of business done so far…

BENETTON

Players in

Rhyno Smith (Cheetahs), Carl Wegner (Cheetahs), Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro (Bristol Bears), Andries Coetzee (Hanazono Kintetsu Liners), Riccardo Favretto (Mogliano), Manuel Zuliani (Mogliano), Tomás Albornoz (Jaguares XV), Lorenzo Cannone (Petrarca), Leonardo Marin (Mogliano), Lorenzo Pani (I Cavalieri Prato)

Players out

Marco Riccioni (Saracens), Jayden Hayward (released), Tommaso Allan (Harlequins), Charly Trussardi (Albi), Nicola Quaglio (Rovigo Delta), Paolo Garbisi (Montpellier), Leonardo Sarto (Rovigo Delta), Angelo Esposito (Petrarca), Alberto Sgarbi (Petrarca), Derrick Appiah (Colorno), Marco Barbini (retired)

BULLS

Players in

Jacques du Plessis (Montpellier), Johan Goosen (Montpellier), Ruan Combrinck (unattached), Lionel Mapoe (Nice), Bismarck du Plessis (Montpellier)

Players out

Ivan van Zyl (Saracens), Marco van Staden (Leicester Tigers), Jan Uys (Grenoble), Tim Agaba (Carcassonne), Marnus Potgieter (Sharks), Nizaam Carr (Wasps), Travis Ismaiel (retired), Clinton Swart (Shizuoka Blue Revs), Dawid Kellerman (Mie Honda Heat), Duane Vermeulen (Ulster)

CARDIFF

Players in

Rhys Priestland (Bath), Matthew Screech (Dragons)

Players out

Ben Warren (Ospreys), Ioan Rhys Davies (Graulhet), Ioan Davies (Dragons), Ethan Lewis (Saracens), Lewis Jones (Dragons [short-term loan]), Cory Hill (Yokohama Canon Eagles), Brad Thyer (Glasgow Warriors [short-term loan])

CONNACHT

Players in

Alex Wootton (Munster), Mack Hansen (Brumbies), Leva Fifita (Grenoble), Shayne Bolton (Shimlas), Greg McGrath (Leinster), Sam Illo (Leinster)

Players out

Quinn Roux (Toulon), Stephen Fitzgerald (retired), Seán O’Brien (Exeter Chiefs), Stephen Kerins (Ealing Trailfinders), Conor Dean (released), Colm de Buitléar (released), Paddy McAllister (retired), Cillian Gallagher (retired), Conor Kenny (Newcastle Falcons), Seán O’Brien (retired)

DRAGONS

Players in

Will Rowlands (Wasps), Mesake Doge (Brive), Aki Seiuli (Glasgow Warriors), Ioan Davies (Cardiff), Taylor Davies (Scarlets [season-long loan]), Lewis Jones (Cardiff [short-term loan]), Jordan Olowofela (Leicester Tigers [season-long loan])

Players out

Lewis Evans (retired), Matthew Screech (Cardiff), Arwel Robson (Cornish Pirates), Connor Edwards (Doncaster Knights), Ed Scragg (Cornish Pirates), Carwyn Penny (Cornish Pirates), Dafydd Howells (Ebbw Vale), Ryan Bevington (retired), Tom Griffiths (Coventry [season-long loan]), Deon Smith (Newport), Storm Hanekom (Nottingham), Rhys Lawrence (Carmarthen Quins), Max Ayling (Jersey Reds), Joe Goodchild (Ampthill), Brok Harris (Stormers), James Benjamin (Cornish Pirates [short-term loan]), Luke Yendle (Jersey Reds [short-term loan])

EDINBURGH

Players in

James Lang (Harlequins), Glen Young (Harlequins), Ben Vellacott (Wasps), Luan de Bruin (Leicester Tigers), Adam McBurney (Ulster), Pierce Phillips (Agen), Henry Immelman (Montpellier), Cameron Hutchison (Heriot’s), Emiliano Boffelli (Racing 92), Ramiro Moyano (Toulon), Harry Lloyd (Western Force [short-term deal])

Players out

Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors), Andrew Davidson (Gloucester), Simon Berghan (Glasgow Warriors), Ally Miller (Glasgow Warriors), Mike Willemse (London Irish), Jamie Farndale (released), Eroni Sau (Provence), Lewis Carmichael (retired), Rory Sutherland (Worcester Warriors), Kyle Rowe (London Irish), Andries Ferreira (Carcassonne), Murray McCallum (Glasgow Warriors), Charlie Jupp (released), Scott King (released), Shaun Gunn (Southern Knights), Jack Mann (Heriot’s), Dan Nutton (London Scottish)

GLASGOW WARRIORS

Players in

Duncan Weir (Worcester Warriors), Jamie Bhatti (Bath), Simon Berghan (Edinburgh), Lewis Bean (Northampton Saints), Jack Dempsey (NSW Waratahs), Josh McKay (Crusaders), Sione Tuipulotu (Shizuoka Blue Revs), Ally Miller (Edinburgh), Domingo Miotti (Western Force), Sebastián Cancelliere (Jaguares XV), Murray McCallum (Edinburgh [short-term deal]), Brad Thyer (Cardiff [short-term loan])

Players out

Adam Hastings (Gloucester), Chris Fusaro (retired), Fotu Lokotui (Agen), D’Arcy Rae (Bath), Mesu Dolokoto (released), Lee Jones (released), Ian Keatley (released), Paddy Kelly (released), George Thornton (Ayrshire Bulls), Robbie Nairn (Ayrshire Bulls), Leone Nakarawa (Toulon), Huw Jones (Harlequins), Alex Allan (Hong Kong Scottish), Aki Seiuli (Dragons), Connor de Bruyn (released), Ollie Melville (released), Bruce Flockhart (retired), Nikola Matawalu (Montauban)

LEINSTER

Players in

Nick McCarthy (Munster), Michael Ala’alatoa (Crusaders)

Players out

Rowan Osborne (Munster), Scott Fardy (retired), Cian Kelleher (Ealing Trailfinders), Greg McGrath (Connacht), Hugh O’Sullivan (London Irish), Michael Bent (Taranaki), Paddy Patterson (Munster), Sam Illo (Connacht)

LIONS

Players in

Edwill van der Merwe (Stormers), Eddie Fouché (Pumas), Pieter Jansen van Vuren (Pumas), Matt More (Pumas), Morgan Naudé (Pumas), Christopher Hollis (Griquas), Ginter Smuts (Pumas)

Players out

Marnus Schoeman (Grenoble), Jan-Henning Campher (Ealing Trailfinders), Len Massyn (Ealing Trailfinders), Hacjivah Dayimani (Stormers), Gianni Lombard (NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes Osaka), Courtnall Skosan (Northampton Saints), Jarod Cairns (Golden Lions), Aidynn Cupido (Golden Lions), Izan Esterhuizen (Golden Lions), Nathan McBeth (Golden Lions), Banele Mthenjane (Golden Lions), Oupa Mthiyane (Golden Lions), Lindo Ncusane (Golden Lions), MJ Pelser to (Golden Lions), Luke Rossouw to (Golden Lions), Ngia Selengbe (Golden Lions), Sibusiso Shongwe (Golden Lions), Dillon Smit (Golden Lions), Roelof Smit (Golden Lions), Boitumelo Tsatsane (Golden Lions), Dameon Venter (Golden Lions), Fred Zeilinga (Golden Lions), Dan Kriel to (Seattle Seawolves)

MUNSTER

Players in

Rowan Osborne (Leinster), Jason Jenkins (Toyota Verblitz), Simon Zebo (Racing 92), Paddy Patterson (Leinster), Declan Moore (Sydney University)

Players out

Nick McCarthy (Leinster), Billy Holland (retired), Alex Wootton (Connacht), CJ Stander (retired), JJ Hanrahan (Clermont), Tommy O’Donnell (retired), James Cronin (Biarritz), Rhys Marshall (North Harbour)

OSPREYS

Players in

Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), Jac Morgan (Scarlets), Ben Warren (Cardiff), Osian Knott (Scarlets), Michael Collins (Highlanders), Jack Regan (Highlanders), Elvis Taione (Exeter Chiefs), Alex Cuthbert (Exeter Chiefs)

Players out

Guido Volpi (Doncaster Knights), Cory Allen (released), Rhys Davies (released), Garyn Lloyd (released), Luke Price (Valence Romans), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Shaun Venter (Bayonne), Caine Woolerton (Bridgend), Jordan Lay (Auckland), Rhys Thomas (Coventry), Gareth Evans (Leicester Tigers), Jordan Walters (Aberavon), Nicky Thomas (Aberavon), Ben Cambriani (Ampthill), Bradley Roderick (Pontypridd)

SCARLETS

Players in

WillGriff John (Sale Sharks), Tomás Lezana (Western Force), Scott Williams (Ospreys), Tom Price (Exeter Chiefs), Corey Baldwin (Exeter Chiefs)

Players out

Werner Kruger (retired), Jac Morgan (Ospreys), Uzair Cassiem (Bayonne), Osian Knott (Ospreys), Harri Doel (Worcester Warriors), Paul Asquith (released), Dylan Evans (released), Pieter Scholtz (Wasps), Taylor Davies (Dragons [season-long loan]), Will Homer (Richmond), Tom Phillips (Llandovery), Danny Drake (Doncaster Knights), Jake Ball (Green Rockets Tokatsu), Ed Kennedy (Brumbies), Joseph Miles (Pontypridd)

SHARKS

Players in

Marnus Potgieter (Bulls), Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers), Gerbrandt Grobler (Stade Français), Eduan Keyter (Griquas), Ben Tapuai (Harlequins), Joaquín Díaz Bonilla (Leicester Tigers), Olajuwon Noah (NHRU Wildfires), Tian Meyer (Free State Cheetahs [short-term loan]), Ruan Pienaar (Free State Cheetahs [short-term loan]), Lourens Adriaanse (Sharks [Currie Cup)

Players out

John-Hubert Meyer (Béziers), JJ van der Mescht (Stade Français), Michael Kumbirai (Soyaux Angoulême), Manie Libbok (Stormers), Jordan Chait (Tel Aviv Heat [short-term loan])

STORMERS

Players in

Juan de Jongh (Wasps), Deon Fourie (Grenoble), Hacjivah Dayimani (Lions), Junior Pokomela (Free State Cheetahs), Stefan Ungerer (Griquas), Brok Harris (Dragons), Manie Libbok (Sharks), Justin Basson (Western Province), Dian Bleuler (Western Province), JJ Kotze (Western Province)

Players out

Juarno Augustus (Northampton Saints), Bongi Mbonambi (Sharks), Abner van Reenen (Rovigo Delta), Edwill van der Merwe (Lions), JD Schickerling (Kobelco Kobe Steelers), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz), Angelo Davids (Western Province), Johan du Toit (Western Province), Michal Haznar (Griquas), Lyle Hendricks (Western Province), David Meihuizen (Western Province), Sihle Njezula (Western Province), Chris Schreuder (Western Province), Seabelo Senatla (Western Province), Cornel Smit (Western Province), Chad Solomon (Western Province), Mnombo Zwelendaba (Western Province)

ULSTER

Players in

Mick Kearney (Zebre), Duane Vermeulen (Bulls)

Players out

Hayden Hyde (Harlequins), Adam McBurney (Edinburgh), Alby Mathewson (released), Kyle McCall (released), Matt Faddes (Otago), Bill Johnston (Ealing Trailfinders)

ZEBRE

Players in

Jacopo Trulla (Calvisano), Gabriele Venditti (Calvisano), Andrea Zambonin (Calvisano), Luca Andreani (Bassa Bresciana Rugby), Ion Neculai (I Cavalieri Prato), Alessandro Fusco (Fiamme Oro), Cristian Stoian (Fiamme Oro), Asaeli Tuivuaka (Fiji Sevens), Tim O’Malley (Highlanders), Liam Mitchell (Hurricanes), Erich Cronjé (Pumas)

Players out

Ian Nagle (retired), Jamie Elliott (released), Lorenzo Masselli (released), Alexandru Țăruș (Rouen), Josh Renton (Southland), Samuele Ortis (Calvisano), Mick Kearney (Ulster)

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