While the 2015 rugby season in the southern hemisphere comes to a simmering close, eyes are already being turned towards what next year has in store for rugby fans. The 2016 edition of Super Rugby will be the biggest and most ambitious in history, and ahead of February there have been some notable transfers that are worth taking note of.
Here are 5 key transfers for Super Rugby 2016:
Rene Ranger (Montpellier to Blues)
Rene Ranger can easily be considered one of the most dangerous backline players to come out of New Zealand in recent years. The 29-year-old is able to change the pace of a game and inject some x-factor into any moment, as the stocky outside back is a devastating runner on attack and a brutal wall on defence. Ranger found his way into the All Black squad just as he was venturing offshore, but his return to Auckland should see him pick up his form from where he left off. A powerful addition to the Blues backline for 2016.
Ben Volavola (Waratahs to Crusaders)
Ben Volavola will be joining the Crusaders for their 2016 season. The former Waratahs player has a tremendous amount of skill and dazzle that should not be overlooked. He is an elusive runner who also has a strong kicking game due to his experience at fullback. The 24-year-old was also one of the standout performers for Fiji in the Rugby World Cup, as well as during the Pacific Nations tournament which proceeded the global showpiece. Volavola will be able to step out of the shadow of the Waratahs’ playmakers and make a name for himself with the seven-time champions, especially with flyhalves Dan Carter and Colin Slade leaving some gaps to fill.
Jacques Potgieter (Waratahs to Sharks)
South Africans will be glad to see Jacques Potgieter back playing for a South African franchise, but it won’t be back at his original franchise of the Bulls. Potgieter is heading to Durban to join the Sharks after an incredibly successful stint with the Waratahs, where he was part of the 2014 champions side and became a crowd favourite with his barnstorming runs and physical tackling. The Sharks will welcome Potgieter to their powerful loose forward pack, adding some diversity, speed, and skill to compliment the likes of Marcell Coetzee, Jean Deysel, and Tera Mtembu.
Willie le Roux (Cheetahs to Sharks)
One of the most prolific moves for 2016 has to be Springbok fullback making the transition from the Cheetahs to the Sharks. The playmaking winger-cum-fullback has become a star for the national side and a pivotal part of the Bloemfontein side is recent seasons, but his services will be greatly used at the Sharks. Flyhalf Patrick Lambie and Le Roux could forge a great playmaking partnership which could finally see the impressive Sharks backline being put to good use.
Ayumu Goromaru (Yamaha Júbilo to Reds)
Japan’s spirited wins over the Springboks, Samoa, and the USA produced some new heroes of world rugby, but none bigger than Ayumu Goromaru. The beloved fullback accumulated 58 points for his side thanks to one try and a stellar display of kicking throughout the World Cup. Goromaru will add his vast array of skills to the Queensland Reds in the new year, helping fill the void left by Quade Cooper, James O’Connor, and a number of other notable departing stars. The 29-year-old’s composed play-style should thrive under the eyes of coach Richard Graham.
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