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Top 10 GP deals

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After all the turmoil and controversy, attention will turn to the action on the pitch when the new Guinness Premiership gets underway.

And barring perhaps Worcester, the clubs have been busy adding to their squads for a fresh assault on the title.

With a number of players heading to France, there has been an influx of quality overseas signings, while the cream of talent from National One has been given a chance to shine.

Ahead of the big kick-off, looks at 10 of the best deals.

Luke Watson (Stormers to Bath)

Given everything that Bath have had to go through over the last few months, then perhaps the signing of someone who has a habit of making headlines for the wrong reasons is not the best of moves. However the powerful back-rower is a classy operator.

Watson, capped 10 times by the Springboks, has been at the centre of controversy back in South Africa since 2007.

Watson was named in the Boks squad against the wishes of then-coach Jake White, who had previously claimed the 25-year-old was "overrated".

He has also been highly critical of the way South African rugby has been run and even claimed that his anti-apartheid views meant that he struggled not to vomit on the Springboks jersey, feeling it represented Afrikaaners.

There have also been reports of clashes with players and coaches, although this have largely to been down to his forthright views.

Such problems are unlikely to trouble Watson at The Rec, though, and away from the national team, Watson has proved to be an undoubted talent. He carries and off-loads well and should make a big impact on his available in November.

Sisa Koyamaibole (Toulon to Sale)

Big things are expected of the Fijian powerhouse at Edgeley Park and if he can recreate his form from the 2007 World Cup, then he could quickly replace Sebastien Chabal as the fans' favourite.

Two years ago, Koyamaibole was arguably one of the best No.8s in world rugby. However things haven't quite worked out for him since.

And after a season-long stint at Toulon, he arrived at Sale at weighing at more than 21st.

However, 'Sissy' has been working hard to get down to his ideal fighting weight, and has already made an impact in pre-season.

His trademark charges off the base of the scrum will be hard to stop, with Koyamaibole surprisingly mobile given his size.

Schalk Brits (Stormers to Saracens)

Another South African who will ply his trade in the Premiership this season - and he will have plenty of company at "Saffacens".

Brits, though, is a genuine world-class signing and he is likely to become a key player for the Saracens.

A wholehearted competitor, Brits should have really earned more than just three caps for the Springbooks. South Africa's loss is Saracens' gain, though.

With the pace and ball-handling skills of a back, expect to see the 28-year-old tearing around and tormenting the defences.

Saracens got a taste of what to expect from the Brits when he got stuck into England in June playing for the Barbarians.

Jimmy Gopperth (Blues to Newcastle)

Newcastle have been the busiest of the Premiership sides with Gopperth the pick of 15 key signings.

The former Junior All Black has some big boots to fill following the departure of Jonny Wilkinson to Toulon. However he is up to the challenge.

He has scored 460 points in 62 Super 14 appearances as well as another 549 points in 58 provincial games.

The 26-year-old might not have won a full cap but with Dan Carter the golden boy of New Zealand rugby, not many other No.10s have had a chance either.

Gopperth has arrived in England ahead of the start of the season and has already settled into life in Newcastle.

He has looked good in training, while he put in an impressive showing against Ulster.

Ben Cohen (Brive to Sale)

The World Cup-winning winger has bucked the trend by turning his back on life in France and he is raring to show that he returns a better player.

Already Sale's back coach - and former England team-mate - Jason Robinson is tipping the 30-year-old for an international recall.

And given a good run of form, Cohen has every chance of forcing his way back into selection.

Cohen's ran in 31 tries in 57 appearances for England before ruling himself out of playing in the 2007 World Cup.

'Big Ben' has regained his hunger for the game and that can only be bad news for defences.

Marco Wentzel (Leicester to Leeds)

The former South Africa second row could prove the difference between Leeds staying up or making an immediate return to National One.

The 30-year-old has been handed the captaincy after 44 appearances in two seasons at the Tigers and Leeds will look to him to lead from the front.

A combative second row, Wentzel has a wealth of experience having played in South Africa and Italy, been capped internationally, and starred in the Premiership and Heineken Cup.

After leaving Leicester, Wentzel appeared for the Southern Kings against the British and Irish Lions and put in an eye-catching display to disrupt the tourists.

And Leeds will be looking for him to repeat this performance week in, week out in the Premiership.

Dan Ward-Smith (Bristol to Wasps)

Perhaps one of the best players in the Premiership not to have been capped, Ward-Smith has come close to making the elusive international appearance that his performances have deserved, only for injuries to leave him frustrated.

The New Zealand-born back-row may have endured a disappointing 2008-09 campaign as Bristol finally lost their fight against relegation, however he was still one of their star performers.

A move to Adams Park could well breathe new life into his career - and looks a great bit of business for Wasps.

A powerful ball carrier, Ward-Smith could add the influence at the back of the Wasps pack that has been missing since the retirement of Lawrence Dallaglio.

Anthony Allen (Gloucester to Leicester)

Allen is another player who could benefit from a fresh start and Leicester clearly believe he can become a key player for them.

Allen departed Gloucester as part of the blood-letting following a disappointing trophy-less campaign.

At just 22, though, and with a wealth a talent, the centre has quickly bounced back to move to Welford Road.

Allen had just turned 20 when he was capped by England - but after two caps he has yet to force his way back into the reckoning.

Allen is hoping the influence of Leicester backs coach Matt O'Conner and New Zealand centre Aaron Mauger can help him earn a recall.

His partnership with England international Dan Hipkiss could be a pleasure to watch.

Brian Mujati (Stormers to Northampton)

Prop Mujati follows fellow former Stormers Luke Watson and Schalk Brits in heading to the Premiership.

The 24-year-old has suffered a run of bad luck with injuries of late and the 24-year-old will be hoping that a move to England will kick-start his career.

Mujati has been capped 12 times by the Springboks and is rated as one of the rising stars of South African rugby.

The Zimbabwe-born front-rower has the ability to play on either side of the scrum and will be a powerful presence.

Mujati secured an early release to arrive for pre-season although an ankle problem means he is likely to miss the start of the campaign.

George Stowers (Kobe to London Irish)

London Irish have added a real physical threat with the addition of Stowers.

The Samoan back-rower is a fearsome tackler and has already made an impression on new team-mate Nick Kennedy when representing the Pacific Islanders.

Stowers arrives after spending seven years in Japan - although he turned down the chance to play in New Zealand.

Although Stowers will make an impression on his rivals in the tackle, the 30-year-old is also a skilful ball-handler.

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