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Aviva Premiership: Yarde to Harlequins looks shrewd business

| 02.09.2014

Football’s transfer window dominates the headlines in this country but while it may not be splashed across the back pages, rugby clubs across the UK have been busy recruiting ahead of the new season.

And with just over a week until the Aviva Premiership gets underway Oliver Yew takes a look at four of the best deals to have taken place.

Marland Yarde (London Irish to Harlequins)

The 22-year-old burst onto the scene last year but apart from an appearance against Australia injury curtailed his involvement for England in the rest of the Autumn internationals and the Six Nations.

But the former London Irish star stormed back into the fold scoring twice, albeit in defeat, this summer in the three Test series against New Zealand.

With lighting pace and plenty of power, Harlequins have landed a real talent in the winger and were it not for probable England commitments he would be an excellent shout for Top Aviva Premiership Tryscorer at 10/1 with Ladbrokes.

Freddie Burns (Gloucester to Leicester Tigers)

Burns arrives at Leicester as one of the brightest talents in English rugby and the man set to challenge Owen Farrell for the number 10 jersey ahead of next year’s World Cup.

The 24-year-old will first have to call the shots at Welford Road and release the attacking talent of Manu Tuilagi, Mathew Tait, Niki Goneva and Christian Loamanu outside him.

If Burns, who has five England caps to his name, can do that not only will Leicester (11/4) go close to landing the Premiership crown but the former Gloucester man could find himself orchestrating England’s attacks come the Autumn internationals.

James Hook (Perpignan to Gloucester)

The Welsh international has played in nearly every position in the back line during his career but heads to Kingsholm to direct proceedings from the number 10 position to replace Burns.

Hook, who has 76 caps for his country, has only started two games for Wales since 2011 but is hoping his move to the Cherry and Whites can lead to a revival at Test level ahead of next year’s World Cup.

At his best the 29-year-old can slice through any defence in the world like a hot knife through butter and Gloucester, who are 16/1 to lift the Premiership trophy, will be hoping he can reproduce that form and pull the strings from the fly-half position in a title challenge.

Sam Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs to Bath)

We have to wait until October until we see Rugby League star Sam Burgess cross codes and pull on the Bath shirt due to his NRL commitments in Australia – but it will sure be worth the wait!

The 24-year-old will be eased into his first season in Rugby Union but England do have an eye on fast-tracking him into their squad for the 2015 World Cup on home soil.

The former Bradford Bulls star is being lined up to start at centre in the 15-man game with his bulldozing runs and off-loading ability set to cause defences up and down the country serious problems.

While it’s unlikely he will be troubling the scorers at the top of the Premiership try scoring charts at 150/1, England coach Stuart Lancaster will be hoping he hits the ground running and becomes the X-Factor in England’s midfield.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Oliver Yew