There have been some extraordinary moves from the other side of the equator this year.
Some players with major talent have made the move north and here are the top five.
1. James Lowe (Chiefs to Leinster)
Lowe is an absolutely lethal wing and can finish from anywhere, he has long been tearing it up in Super Rugby and was rewarded with a start for the Maori All Blacks against the Lions in the summer.
The New Zealander will be combining with international pair Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose inside him. The 25-year-old will expect to start for the Irish province, other teams should beware of the havoc he will cause if given some space.
2. Robbie Fruean (Bath to Edinburgh)
The hulking centre was at Bath last season but we never really saw the powerful player get into his stride due to a string of recurring injuries. Fruean has already made a splash in the Scottish capital scoring a try on debut.
The former Crusaders star is a big ball carrying player and will try to create space and crash through defenders. Fruean could make a real difference for the PRO14 side this season.
3. Christian Leali’ifano (Brumbies to Ulster)
The Australian is back playing rugby after recovering from leukaemia. The centre is an extraordinary playmaking talent and he was sorely missed whilst recovering from his illness.
Ulster are lucky to have snapped him up on a five month loan deal, he should be able to aid and complement Ireland fly-half Paddy Jackson. Leali’ifano should thrive in the northern hemisphere as we saw Australian counterpart Kurtley Beale did last year.
4. Rob Horne (Waratahs to Northampton Saints)
This agile utility back was once the golden boy of Australian rugby, he has some serious pace and the man also has a step that we rarely see. He may get to use his skills more in the east midlands then he has in recent years for the Sydney based franchise.
Horne will add some spice to an already fiery backline containing Welsh star George North and bruising England international Luther Burrell.
5. James O’Connor (Toulon to Sale Sharks)
The sharpshooting, hot stepping all rounder, O’Connor has masked his talent with a string of off field misdemeanours. Now 27 years old, maybe Sale can reform him, much like they did to Wasps star, Danny Cipriani.
James O’Connor is one of the most exciting backs in the Premiership this season, he can kick, beat defenders or throw a wonder pass. Watch out for him this season.
These five are few of many likely to light up the two leagues this season, surely with this talent on the show the rest of the northern hemisphere season is going to be a cracker.
Fred Blagden, Pundit Arena
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