September 27, 2021

Gallagher Premiership 2021-22: Five players to watch

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Defending champions Harlequins kick off their Gallagher Premiership title defence against Newcastle while Saracens return to the Premiership with a tough away trip to Bristol

Last Updated: 14/09/21 9:06pm

Louis Lynagh had a massive impact for Quins last season Louis Lynagh had a massive impact for Quins last season

Louis Lynagh had a massive impact for Quins last season

The 2021-22 Gallagher Premiership season promises to be another thrilling
domestic campaign.

Here at Sky Sports, we have picked out 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. Michael Lynagh 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 made his England debut against the United states Freddie Steward made his England debut against the United states

Freddie Steward made his England debut against the United states

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-around 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)

Alfie Barbeary will be hoping to remain injury free this season Alfie Barbeary will be hoping to remain injury free this season

Alfie Barbeary will be hoping to remain injury free this season

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 he has suffered with injuries, so much so that he has played only a fraction of the rugby this year that he would have hoped for. The 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's Joe Simmonds has already captained the Chiefs to Heineken Champions Cup and Premiership title successes Exeter's Joe Simmonds has already captained the Chiefs to Heineken Champions Cup and Premiership title successes

Exeter’s Joe Simmonds has already captained the Chiefs to Heineken Champions Cup and Premiership title successes

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)

Falcons flyer Adam Radwan is one of the league's most potent attacking forces Falcons flyer Adam Radwan is one of the league's most potent attacking forces

Falcons flyer Adam Radwan is one of the league’s most potent attacking forces

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 onto 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.