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Aviva Premiership Preview Sign up to our newsletter VideoSaracens' stars preview their Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-final
Rising star: Lewis Ludlam — Starred in the No 7 jersey in pre-season after being released as a year-old. Key signing: Piers Francis — Tasked with reigniting the Saints backline.
Verdict: The Incredible Hulk-sized hole left by departing Frenchman Louis Picamoles is a problem. Last season: 7th Prediction: 8th.
Main man: Denny Solomona — 11 tries in 15 union appearances bodes well for the former league winger. Verdict: Recruitment has been smart and the Sharks academy is becoming one of the best production lines.
Last season: 10th Prediction: 7th. Main man : Richard Wigglesworth — Understated No 9 is so well-versed in the Sarries gameplan that suffocates opponents.
Rising star: Nick Isiekwe — A local boy lock who has Maro Itoje, George Kruis and Will Skelton as mentors. Last season: 3rd Prediction: 1st. Nick Isiekwe is a rising star who could be an exciting turn at Sarries this season.
Rising star: Jacob Umaga — The nephew of former All Blacks captain Tana comes from a rich bloodline. Key signing: Juan de Jongh — Offers organisational skills in midfield.
Verdict: Less movement in the transfer market could be a blessing. Last season : 2nd Prediction: 2nd. Rising star: Jack Singleton — Young hooker is pushing to start.
Key signing: Peter Stringer — Scrum-half turns 40 this year and his experience will be useful. Verdict: Gold is already suffering from a worrying injury list.
Last season: 11th Prediction: 11th. Argos AO. Football Premier League Champions League Transfer News Boxing Rugby Golf Cricket F1 Tennis MMA Racing More My Profile Logout Login.
What's hot: A fully refreshed Joe Marler. After turning down the chance to tour with England this summer due to mental and physical exhaustion, the prop is ready and raring to go for the new season.
What's not: The loss of Nick Easter. Although the talismanic No 8 remains at the club with his new role in the coaching team he will no longer be Quins' go-to man on the field.
Ins: Mark Reddish Highlanders, New Zealand , Ruaridh Jackson Wasps , Cameron Holenstein Pau , Charlie Mulchrone Worcester , George Naoupu Connacht , Aaron Morris Saracens , Alofa Alofa La Rochelle.
Outs: Ben Botica Montpellier , Tito Tebaldi Treviso , Sam Egerton Newcastle , Kieran Treadwell Ulster , Nick Easter retired , Ollie Lindsay-Hague released.
The year-old had battled serious groin trouble for 18 months before a hamstring strain ruled him out of England's summer tour to Australia.
A fully-firing Tuilagi could elevate both Leicester and England to different levels though, should he rediscover his full destructive game-breaking ability.
What's not: The years of Leicester's exclusive dominance across the league appear to have gone with more and more of their rivals making claims at the top of the table.
A trip to Welford Road was once a highly-feared fixture in the 22 rounds of action but now increasing teams go there with the belief that they will test the Tigers and come away with a victory.
What's changed: The Tigers have pushed the boat out with a host of impressive signings including JP Pietersen and Matt Toomua.
Jordan Crane, Tommy Bell, Niall Morris, Miles Benjamin, Vereniki Goneva and Jean de Villiers have all left Welford Road.
Ins: JP Pietersen Sharks, South Africa , Matt Toomua Brumbies, Australia , Tom Brady Sale Sharks , Pat Cilliers Montpellier , Ellis Genge Bristol , George McGuigan Newcastle , Luke Hamilton Agen , Ben Betts Munster.
Outs: Leonardo Ghiraldini Toulouse , Vereniki Goneva, Opeti Fonua both Newcastle , Jordan Crane Bristol , Tommy Bell, Sebastian De Chaves both London Irish , Michael van Vuuren Bath , Tiziano Pasquali Treviso , Niall Morris Leinster , Matias Aguero, Christian Loamanu both Provence , Laurence Pearce Sale Sharks , Jean de Villiers, Seremaia Bai, Miles Benjamin all retired.
What's hot: The signing of Vereniki Goneva from Leicester. The winger is a proven try-scorer, crossing the whitewash 41 times during his four-year spell with the Tigers while also bringing a winning mentality to the north east.
What's not: The Falcons continue to lose talent to their rivals. The latest player to follow the well-trodden path to Welford Road is hooker George McGuigan who follows Mathew Tait, Micky Young, Toby Flood and Geoff Parling down to the East Midlands.
What's changed: There have been plenty of changes up at Kingston Park ahead of the new season. Ins: Vereniki Goneva.
Outs: Josh Furno, Giamba Venditti both Zebre , George McGuigan Leicester , Richard Mayhew Yorkshire Carnegie , Kane Thompson Manawatu, New Zealand , Rob Hawkins retired Todd Clever, Alesana Tuilagi, Anitelea Tuilagi all released , Andy Goode, Gonzalo Tiesi both retired.
What's hot: The signing of Louis Picamoles. Possibly the star signing of the season from any of the Premiership clubs, Picamoles will add to the Saints' already extensive back-row options providing an experienced head at the back of the scrum and giving some well-needed go-forward.
Northampton struggled at times to get over the gain-line after Samu Manoa's move to Toulon but they have found someone to more that fill that role.
What's not: Jim Mallinder has resisted temptation to shuffle his squad after a disappointing season. Ins: Louis Picamoles Toulouse , Nic Groom Stormers, South Africa , Juan Pablo Estelles Rosario, Argentina , Matt Beesley Wharfedale , Charlie Clare Bedford.
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Test rugby will return with a bang in November when England host the All Blacks and Wales face Australia.
Now is the time for Freddie Burns and Marland Yarde, newly arrived at Leicester and Harlequins respectively, to show their class. Wasps wing Christian Wade has a chance too, if he hits top form quickly.
Tips for the top: in the Pro 12, Glasgow have finished successively fourth, third and second in the past three seasons but Munster may be resurgent.
Bath, with a young squad, and Gloucester, with a huge coaching overhaul, crave an overdue revival. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium.
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The most insightful comments on all subjects will be published daily in dedicated articles. So head coach Alan Tait, who largely inherited the side of last season, has now built the team in his image.
Tait's strong connections with Scotland have seen Calum McRae recruited as skills coach, and it was in this area that the Falcons were often found wanting last term.
The early capture of the Premiership Sevens title may owe something to improved handling, but that's probably the only trophy that will reach the north east between now and May.
More than a dozen new signings, many from the southern hemisphere, will freshen up a squad that was so nearly relegated last time.
Recent seasons have tempered the expectations of supporters who now look realistically at finishing in lower mid-table. Euan Murray and newly-signed Samoan international flanker Taiasina Tu'ifua will be the only Newcastle players at the World Cup, and a good return from the opening six games from the Falcons is vital.
BBC Newcastle will bring you every Falcons Premiership game with Kevin Williams and Ian Smith. Position last season: Fourth.
Coaches: Jim Mallinder director of rugby , Paul Grayson backs , Dorian West forwards. Club captain: Dylan Hartley. Out: Joe Ansboro London Irish , Mark Easter Sale , Joe Ford Leeds Shane Geraghty Brive , Ryan Powell retired , Bruce Reihana Bordeaux.
BBC Radio Northampton's Geoff Doyle:. Northampton fans may be anxious over the impact the World Cup will have on their club's fortunes.
Last season Saints came apart during the Six Nations and four defeats in a row during that period cost them a home Premiership semi-final.
So do they have the players in place to replace Hartley et al? New prop Paul Doran-Jones should form a strong front-row partnership with Brian Mujati and hooker Brett Sharman, who will need to improve his line-out throwing.
Tom May is another interesting signing. Is he set to take over the 'maverick' mantle from Shane Geraghty who has crossed the Channel to Brive or will he re-discover the form that led to England caps?
The long-serving Bruce Reihana left the club in the summer so Noah Cato was drafted in as a replacement from Saracens. Other notable northern hemisphere arrivals include former Wales scrum-half Martin Roberts and young lock James Craig, signed from Leeds.
But no doubt much will again depend on the Saints core with Downey, Myler, Dickson, Dowson and Clark there from the start and Hartley, Wood, Tonga'uiha, Ashton and Foden once their international duties conclude.
This will be another strong season from the Saints, with a top-four finish the bare minimum. BBC Radio Northampton will have full commentary of every Saints Premiership and Heineken Cup match.
Position last season: 10th. Coaches: Steve Diamond executive director of sport , Tony Hanks head coach. Club captain: Sam Tuitupou. Aug 19 - Sale Edinburgh.
Aug 26 - Sale Glasgow. Out: Chris Bell Wasps , Asaeli Boko, Chris Brightwell, Sean Cox Edinburgh , Ben Cohen retired , Rhys Crane released , Carl Fearns Bath , Jack Forster released , Charlie Hodgson Saracens , Matty James, Chris Jones Worcester , Sisaro Koyamaibole Lyon , Selorm Kuadey released , Chris Leck Edinburgh , Neil McMillan released , Simon McIntyre Wasps , Fergus Mulchrone released , Kristian Ormsby, Nic Rouse Nottingham , Eifion Roberts Toulon , Mathew Tait Leicester.
BBC Radio Manchester's Nathan Middleton:. Sale begin the season having undertaken the Premiership's biggest overhaul of the summer - the squad and staff are barely recognisable from that of 12 months ago.
Steve Diamond, who returned to the club last January, spelt out what he thought was wrong to owner Brian Kennedy and has been ruthless in his rennovations.
Diamond has brought in large, but mobile, forwards to shore up a pack too often bullied by Premiership opponents in recent years.
The arrival of Sam Tuitupou, Jonny Leota and Tasesa Lavea will add steel and flair to a midfield previously too reliant on the boot of Charlie Hodgson to alleviate pressure.
Much is expected of local wingers Tom Brady and Will Addison after breakthrough seasons last time around. Summer recruits Joaquin Tuculet and Luther Burrell will hope to create an early impression in Sharks' colours.
Ex-Wasps coach Tony Hanks, who won the Heineken Cup and three Premiership titles at Adams Park, comes in to take charge of the side's attack, strategy and defence while a host of new fitness and support staff have also been brought in.
The reconstituted Sharks may take time to settle into a style of play with so many new faces but the clear-out has rejuvenated the club. Although Diamond has targeted a Heinieken Cup place, a top-half finish would constitute progress following a couple of seasons near the wrong end of the table.
BBC Radio Manchester has full match commentary of all Sale's Premiership home games, and select away games, throughout the season onDuell mit dem BVB: Alle Serie-A-Tore von Lazio aus der laufenden Saison /21 | DAZN Serie A. Nikki and Brie get real in Total Bellas Season 4. WWE. F1: Vorschau auf den Großen Preis von Österreich. Six Nations: Schottland - Frankreich | DAZN Highlights. Rugby. Six Nations: Schottland - Frankreich. The Aviva Premiership semi-finals take place on Saturday and here Nick Harris takes you through his rugby union tips for the games, with Wasps. December 12, - May 22, - Der European Rugby Heineken Champions Cup beginnt mit 24 Teams, die um den Preis kämpfen.