No one quite knows when rugby or any form of sport will resume amid the coronavirus crisis, but at some point the problems are going to pass and life will get back to some form of normal.
There are set to be a few different faces in certain teams, mind.
A number of transfers have already been completed by Guinness PRO14 regions, clubs and provinces, and others are likely to follow, even allowing for the new financial order that’s likely to sweep rugby after the enforced shutdown the sport is living through.
MARK ORDERS looks at some of the most eye-catching to date…
DAMIAN DE ALLENDE (Panasonic Wild Knights to Munster)
Wow. Call this a world-class signing by any standard.
If there were any World Cup teams of the tournament last autumn that didn’t include the name of de Allende last autumn, then they weren’t worth dwelling on.
For the man from Cape Town was the best inside centre by some distance in Japan with his ruthless defence, ability to achieve turnovers and powerful ball-carrying. No one organised better de Allende, no one possessed the same cool under pressure. Opposition attacks were neutralised with deadly certainty. Quiet confidence underpinned everything he did.
Let’s just say Munster have pulled off a major coup in attracting the World Cup winner.
LIAM WILLIAMS (Saracens to Scarlets)
He’s a fans’ favourite and for good reason with his buccaneering runs from deep, his ability to soar high in the sky and his willingness to put himself in harm’s way in defence.
The suspicion is that Williams’ blood runs molten hot, and when he is bang on his game he’s right up there with the best in the business.
Whether he plays on the wing or at full-back, he brings 24-carat quality to proceedings.
RHYS WEBB (Toulon to Ospreys, via Bath)
It’s been a tough campaign for the Ospreys, but having Webb back in the fold for next term will lift spirits. He doesn’t just bring Lions Test level skills.
He also brings confidence which stayed intact despite a bumpy final few months at Toulon when the odds seemed stacked against him and he could have been forgiven for letting his belief drop.
But he’s a class act and he came through it.
Now back in the Wales set-up, he’ll be raring to reinforce his claims to the national No. 9 jersey.
RG SNYMAN (Honda Heat to Munster)
Make ours a double, someone from Munster must have said when popping into Ye Olde World Cup Winners’ Bar the other day.
Not content to sign one Springbok who lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in November, they’ve lined up two, with the 6ft 9in Snyman also agreeing to head there from Japan.
He’s the man who gave Alun Wyn Jones a needless pat after Wales agonisingly coughed up possession late on in the World Cup semi-final last year.
It shouldn’t have happened.
But the rangy and mobile Snyman is a hard worker who could prove an excellent recruit for Munster.
ALBY MATHEWSON (Unattached to Ulster)
He’s not going to see his 34th birthday again but he’s a player with vast experience and he knows how to put it to good use. Mathewson is a former All Black who once partnered Dan Carter against England at Twickenham. He’s expert at picking up the tempo and making good decisions, and with John Cooney likely to be involved with Ireland, the ex-Munster player is likely to see a fair bit of rugby for Ulster.
“One of the best and most professional players I’ve coached,” summed up his ex-team boss at Munster, Johann van Graan.
Not much more needs to be said.
RICHIE GRAY (Toulouse to Glasgow Warriors)
Jonny Gray may be off to Exeter Chiefs but the replacement isn’t half bad in the shape of brother Richie. The 6ft 10in lock will bring with him a lorry-load of experience acquired over the last eight years playing rugby in England and France. A Top 14 title winner with Toulouse last term, he hasn’t played for Scotland in two years but remains athletic and hard-working.
SAM MOORE (Sale Sharks to Cardiff Blues)
The son of Steve Moore and nephew of Andy Moore actually joined Cardiff Blues with immediate effect earlier this year but the wraps have yet to be properly taken off because of injury.
But the boy can play.
Two summers ago he was called up to the wider England squad for experience with Eddie Jones announcing: “Sam Moore is a likely lad. He reminds me a bit of New Zealand’s Kieran Read — a wide, angular runner.
“And he can be a good lineout forward, too. He is a good humble lad and definitely worth a look at.”
Sadly for Eddie, he can look all he wants these days, because it appears Moore the younger is intent of playing for the land of his birth, namely Wales.
At 6ft 6in and 17st 4lb and blessed with considerable ball-carrying ability, the No. 8 should prove a big asset to Cardiff Blues.
SAM COSTELOW (Leicester Tigers to Scarlets)
An alien from another planet arriving at Colwyn Bay for the Wales v Scotland under-20s fixture last weekend might have wondered what all the fuss was about.
Like most of the Welsh team, Sam Costelow wasn’t at his best.
He missed a few shots at goal and failed to stop a few Scottish ball-carriers.
But let’s not go overboard.
Costelow still beat 10 defenders — you read that correctly — and didn’t stop trying things, always a good sign.
The previous week he had been sublime against England and, seven days before, he had controlled play beautifully in hellish conditions against France.
At 19, he’s yet to shed his L-plates, but he’s going to be a good player and it’s unlikely the Scarlets will regret signing him.
This content was originally published here.