Ranked: The 20 best Premiership signings of the 2023/24 season

Jared Wright
Planet Rugby ranks the top 20 Premiership signings of the 2023/24 season.

Planet Rugby ranks the top 20 Premiership signings of the 2023/24 season.

As the 2023/24 Premiership season draws to a close, we recap the best signings the 10 teams have made this campaign.

There have been several high-quality additions to the Premiership this season, while clubs have also made smart moves within the league.

Numerous stars have also made the most of their second opportunity in England’s top flight following the collapse of Wasps and London Irish.

With this in mind, we have ranked the top 20 signings in the 2023/24 Premiership season.

20 best Premiership signings this season

20 Solomone Kata – Leicester Tigers

While the Tongan international is one of the few stars to be red-carded in the Premiership this season, he has still managed to be influential for Leicester Tigers.

Solomone Kata has shored-up the Tigers’ midfield, particularly following the departure of Jimmy Gopperth.

It was a sharp get from the Leicester staff, who recruited the Tongan from Exeter Chiefs, and while he has featured mostly in the centres for the Tigers, he is another option on the wing for the side going forward.

19 Tom Parton – Saracens

The former London Irish outside back has become a regular in Saracens’ matchday 23, featuring in 15 of their 22 matches. In his 12 Premiership appearances, he has scored seven tries, including a wonderfully fast hat-trick against Gloucester.

The 26-year-old could be even more influential in the coming seasons as the side go through a rebuild, with his ability to slot in on the wing and at full-back a plus.

18 Luke Cowan-Dickie – Sale Sharks

The first of Sale Sharks’ two sharp signings in the middle of the front-row as Alex Sanderson swooped to sign Luke Cowan-Dickie following the collapse of his deal with Montpellier. It was a gamble but one that, on the whole, has paid off as he has worked well in tandem with Agustin Creevy in the Sharks’ pack and continues to build towards getting back to his best.

17 Joe Hawkins – Exeter Chiefs

A move that caused plenty of controversy with his switch from the Ospreys effectively ending his international career with Wales. It has been a rather solid season for Joe Hawkins, who hasn’t been an absolute standout either, but the 21-year-old is bound to make a bigger splash next season.

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16 Joe Launchbury – Harlequins

It has long been reported that Harlequins attempted to sign Joe Launchbury from Wasps, but following the collapse of the side, the England second-rower headed to Japan. Harlequins moved to finally get their man ahead of the 2023/24 season, and he has performed strongly for the Famous Quarters, producing solid performances, racking up 13 Premiership appearances and helping the side reach the Investec Champions Cup semi-finals.

Solid locks who power through their workloads with little fuss are often underrated but Launchbury has proved his worth at Harlequins.

15 Virimi Vakatawa – Bristol Bears

Much like Cowan-Dickie’s move to Sale Sharks, Bristol Bears took a gamble on Virimi Vakatawa despite his proven quality. The former Racing 92 star was forced to retire due to a heart condition but returned to professional rugby with the Bears, and Pat Lam’s decision has paid dividends, with the France international starring particularly in the latter stages of their season as they make a late bid to make the Premiership play-offs.

14 Agustin Creevy – Sale Sharks

The veteran hooker shows no signs of slowing down as Creevy has been a force in the Sharks’ front-row following London Irish’s demise. The Los Pumas legend has been strong in every game he has played for the Sharks.

13 Lucio Cinti – Saracens

The former London Irish stars feature throughout our list, and Argentine back Lucio Cinti is just another who has shone in his new surroundings. He has fitted in seamlessly into the Saracens midfield and also featured on the wing for the side. He is another who could kick it up a few gears next season but he has been wonderfully solid for Mark McCall’s men.

12 Tom Pearson – Northampton Saints

Staying with the ex-London Irish stars and Tom Pearson has gone from strength to strength with Northampton Saints. The 24-year-old continues to press for higher honours and has played a role in the Saints’ stunning run in the Premiership and Champions Cup.

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11 Will Porter – Harlequins

Will Porter celebrates after scoring another try as Louis Lynagh joins in during the Harlequins v Northampton Saints Gallagher Premiership rugby match.

Will Porter celebrates after scoring another try as Louis Lynagh joins in during the Harlequins v Northampton Saints.

The former Wasps scrum-half’s heroics in Bordeaux in the Champions Cup certainly boosts his ranking, but he has enjoyed superb cameos off the bench throughout the season. Will Porter looks well equipped to replace Quins legend Danny Care at the club long-term.

10 Tom Willis – Saracens

Yet another sharp bit of business from Saracens, who signed a long-term starter for the side before they depart, with Tom Willis set to fill Billy Vunipola’s void at the club. After a successful short stint at Bordeaux, Willis joined Saracens ahead of this season and has locked down the number eight jersey, producing standout shifts in the Premiership and Champions Cup. The combative back-rower has been a fantastic addition to Saracens’ loose trio.

9 Ernst van Rhyn – Sale Sharks

A string of recent injuries deny South African blindside flanker Ernst van Rhyn from featuring higher up the list. He has come into the already abrasive pack and kicked it up a notch with his relentless work rate.

The 26-year-old was a standout for the Stormers when fit and replicated that form at Sale Sharks.

8 Curtis Langdon – Northampton Saints

Saints’ best signing of the season and is perhaps unlucky not to feature higher on the list after a blockbuster start to his time at Northampton.

After Worcester Warriors’ collapse, he headed to France for a shift in the Top 14 with Montpellier but has returned to the Premiership in incredible nick. He has seemingly displaced Sam Matavesi as the first-choice hooker and has an unreal highlight package this season.

7 Ethan Roots – Exeter Chiefs

Ethan Roots has seemingly slotted into the Exeter Chiefs back-row with his abrasive and physical performances earning him a Test debut during the Six Nations.

It hasn’t been the most memorable season for Exeter, but there’s certainly plenty of positives to take from their season, particularly from the performances in their back-row. Roots has been excellent, along with academy product Ross Vintcent, the always-excellent Jacques Vermeulen and the ever-improving Greg Fisilau.

6 Zach Mercer – Gloucester

Zach Mercer in action for Gloucester against Leicester in the Premiership in 2024.

Zach Mercer in action for Gloucester against Leicester in the Premiership in 2024.

The level of competition for the best signings of the season is highlighted by Zach Mercer, who features just outside the top five. He has been sensational for the Cherry and Whites when fit. He is the kind of player that Gloucester will look to build their team around next season.

5 Chandler Cunningham-South – Harlequins

The 21-year-old forward will have led the shortlists of several clubs following London Irish’s demise, but Harlequins swooped to sign one of the hottest prospects in the Premiership. He just edges Mercer into the top five after several high-profile performances, including the win over Bordeaux in the Champions Cup. He has a bright future for club and country, and Harlequins will be smitten that they managed to secure his services.

4 Benhard Janse van Rensburg – Bristol Bears

During his time at London Irish, Benhard Janse van Rensburg was arguably the most underrated player in the Premiership, and the South African has delivered similarly high-quality performances for Bristol Bears. He has switched between 12 and 13 with little fuss throughout the season, playing all but one of their matches across the Premiership and Champions Cup.

3 Finn Russell – Bath

A season-defining arrival for Johann van Graan’s side and the enormity of the top two signings is highlighted by Finn Russell, finishing in a more than respectable third place. The fly-half has been a driving force in Bath’s run in the Premiership and sensational in running their attack, not only sparking it into life but taking it to another level.

2 Juan Martín González – Saracens

Saracens’ signing of Los Pumas superstar Juan Martín González falls just short of top spot. The Londoners beat Bristol Bears to González’s signature, and he has hardly put a foot wrong all season. A superbly well-rounded player, he has taken Sarries’ back-row to new heights along with the likes of Ben Earl, Willis and Theo McFarland. If Saracens are to defend their title, he will undoubtedly play a crucial role in their success.

1 Thomas du Toit – Bath

Van Graan made some excellent moves in the off-season, but none so much as Springboks prop Thomas du Toit. When announcing his arrival, Van Graan described Du Toit as a “world-class” player, and he has certainly delivered on that high praise, starring on both sides of the scrum throughout the season.

Bath have benefitted enormously from a powerful pack this campaign and while Du Toit has set the standard in the starting line-up, he has offered a stunning impact whether he has replaced Beno Obano and Will Stuart.

The performance up front is always pivotal, and Du Toit has been a cornerstone of the Bath pack all season. The former Sharks man has also enjoyed a remarkable try-scoring run for Bath, dotting down six times in the Premiership and a further four times in the Champions Cup.

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