Top 10 RU deals
Ahead of the new Aviva Premiership season, skysports.com looks at 10 summer signings who could make a big impact at their new clubs
By Tony Curtis - Follow me on Twitter: @SkysportsTC. Last Updated: 28/09/12 10:31am
Gavin Henson (London Welsh)
The arrival of the Wales international may have been met with scepticism by many, however the Exiles could well provide Henson with the loving home he craves. There is no doubting his talent - just as there are no question marks over the baggage he brings with him - however in Lyn Jones he will be reunited with his former Ospreys mentor and that could well be the difference between his name appearing on the back pages rather than the front! A pre-season injury, though, will delay his debut.
Danny Cipriani (Sale)
Like Henson, Cipriani could well be sponsored by Samsonite given the baggage he brings with him - and many seem to be waiting for the fly-half to step out of line. However, Cipriani will know that Sharks boss Steve Diamond is not a man to mess with - and he has been knuckling down to the famed Sale pre-season regime. On his day Cipriani can be world-class - as those who have followed his career with no prejudice will know - he just needs to keep doing his talking on the pitch.
Jimmy Cowan (Gloucester)
The All Blacks international arrives at Kingsholm with big expectations placed on his shoulders. Cowan has endured a frustrating last season at the Highlanders, with Aaron Smith's form forcing him to play second fiddle - so the move to Gloucester could breathe new life into his career. There is no doubting his class, though, and he is likely to have the same impact on the Premiership as his compatriot Justin Marshall.
Kai Horstmann (Exeter)
Horstmann's departure from Worcester might have left his now former team-mates 'gobsmacked' however the Warriors' loss could well be Exeter's gain. The 30-year-old was released after more than 170 appearances at Sixways and the Chiefs quickly made their move for the talented former Sevens international. If he can carry his form down to Sandy Park there is every chance he can go on to achieve his aim of full England honours.
Miles Benjamin (Leicester)
Benjamin's arrival at the Tigers is set benefit both club and player. The fleet-footed winger carved out an impressive reputation during his time at Worcester - and his try-scoring abilities will be needed by a Leicester side that has seen both Horacio Agulla and Alesana Tuilagi depart. His decision to finally leave Sixways, though, could also help give him that final nudge into the full England squad.
George Skivington (London Irish)
The 29-year-old lock has some mighty big boots to fill at the Exiles, with the squad having lost the heartbeat of their pack. 'Big' Bob Casey has headed off into a well-deserved retirement, while Nick Kennedy has joined fellow exiled Exiles Guy, Steffon and Delon Armitage at Toulon. Skivington, though, is a proven winner from his time at Wasps and Leicester and his experience will be vital in helping transform the much-changed Irish into a top-four side.
Dom Waldouck (Northampton)
Having seen Jon Clarke and James Downey announce their departures before the end of last season, there were concerns over the centre positions - but in securing Waldouck, boss Jim Mallinder could have pulled a rabbit out of the hat. Saints were accused of being one-dimensional in the midfield at times during a trophy-less season, but in Waldouck they have an incisive runner. The only fear will be over his fitness, with the Saxons international having had his unfair share of luck with injuries.
Chris Ashton (Saracens)
It is a move that left Ashton's reputation among the fans somewhat tarnished - with the deal having been dragged through the press and the England winger harshly dubbed by some as 'Chris Cashton' by some. However if Ashton can recapture his best form, Saracens could well have got themselves a bargain. A proven try-scorer at every level, the only negative for Saracens will be the fact England will require his services too.
Andrea Masi (London Wasps)
After last season's narrow escape it is somewhat understandable that there have been wholesale changes at Wasps, with Dai Young putting together his own squad. And in Italy international Masi he could have the signing of the season. Masi is simply a class act - as his RBS player of the tournament award in 2011 highlights - and his experience in the midfield will be crucial to bringing on the talented crop of youths at Wasps.
Dean Schofield (Worcester)
The former Sale lock has been brought back to the Premiership to give the Worcester pack a physical edge - and he will certainly do that. The 33-year-old has spent the past two seasons mixing it up with Toulon in France - where forward battles are still classed as an art form. Schofield has made an immediate impact at Sixways and will skipper the Warriors for the coming campaign.