5 players set to star in the Gallagher Premiership this season

Louis Lynagh celebrates during the 2021 Gallagher Premiership final (Nigel French/PA) (PA Wire)
6:00am, Fri 10 Sep 2021
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The 2021-22 Gallagher Premiership season promises to be another thrilling domestic campaign.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five players who could prove star attractions of English club rugby’s showpiece competition.

Louis Lynagh (Harlequins)

At the age of 20, Lynagh has already left an indelible mark on Harlequins’ rich history by scoring two late tries that secured a first Premiership title since 2012 as Quins beat Exeter 40-38 at Twickenham in June. The exciting wing is qualified to play for three countries – Italy through birth, England on residency and Australia, with Lynagh’s father Michael an all-time Wallabies great, who helped his country win the 1991 World Cup and amassed 911 Test points. Having made such an impact at Quins last term, it will be fascinating to observe Lynagh’s progress this season as a key weapon in the English champions’ attacking armoury.

Freddie Steward (Leicester)

Freddie Steward, centre, has already made his England debut (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)

Leicester full-back Steward is viewed among English rugby’s brightest prospects. The 20-year-old has already played Test rugby, making his England debut in a 43-29 victory over the United States this summer and impressing numerous observers through his immaculate work under the high ball, all-round defensive excellence and attacking creativity. He continues to impress as part of a new-look Leicester squad being moulded by head coach Steve Borthwick, and it would be no surprise to see him included in England boss Eddie Jones’ autumn international plans.

Alfie Barbeary (Wasps)

Wasps back-row forward Alfie Barbeary has had his share of injuries (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

If Lady Luck had been on his side, then the chances are that 20-year-old Barbeary would have started this season with Wasps as an England international. But the injury fates conspired against him, so much so that he has played only a fraction of the rugby this year that he would have hoped for. The catalogue of woe began with calf and hamstring problems, then he suffered a fractured cheek and eye-socket during club training. The dynamic back-row forward, who scored three tries on his full club debut a year ago, will target making an early impact during Wasps’ domestic campaign and once again showcase the quality that has already made so many sit up and take notice.

Joe Simmonds (Exeter)

Exeter fly-half Joe Simmonds has already captained the Chiefs to Heineken Champions Cup and Premiership title successes (Ashley Western/PA) (PA Wire)

Exeter fly-half Simmonds might only be 24, but he has already captained the Chiefs to Heineken Champions Cup and Premiership title successes. Such are Exeter’s standards, though, that they will more readily reflect on a trophy-less campaign last season that saw them make a European Cup quarter-final exit and suffer an agonising loss in the Premiership final against Harlequins. Simmonds, whose older brother Sam set a new Premiership try-scoring record last term and gained British and Irish Lions squad selection, is pivotal to a consistently-performing Exeter team. Expect a big season from him.

Adam Radwan (Newcastle)

If raw pace terrifies opposition defences, then Newcastle wing Radwan has to be among the Premiership’s most frightening figures. One of the league’s most potent attacking forces, he transferred that reputation on to the international stage this summer as the 23-year-old marked his England debut by scoring three tries against Canada at Twickenham. His Newcastle strike-rate has seen him amass 36 touchdowns from just 46 appearances, and he promises to be a major player in Falcons’ attempt to make an impact on this season’s Premiership.

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