First Division ins and outs

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The Independent Online
Bath: The only top-flight player to leave the league champions and cup holders during the summer was Ben Clarke, who has joined Richmond. The relationship formed with Wigan last season has paid dividends with the signing of Henry Paul who will add even more flair to the most exciting back line in English rugby.

In: Henry Paul, David Tyrer, Richie Webster.

Out: Ben Clarke, Chris Clark, Darren Crompton, Ed Pearce, Fraser Waters.

Bristol: Three internationals have left the Memorial Ground and three more have arrived. But unless there is an injection of money, Bristol will be pushed to improve on their moderate showing last season.

In: Paul Burke, Patrick Chennery, David Corkery, Robert Jones, Nathan Millett, Fraser Waters.

Out: Garath Archer, Kyran Bracken, Arwel Thomas.

Gloucester: Another club, like Bristol, with a big local following but strapped for cash. Coach Richard Hill has held on to most of Gloucester's young talent, though, and hopes are high that the threat of relegation will not be so intrusive this season.

In: Chris Catling, Scott Edwards, Ed Pearce, Paul Price, Richard Ward.

Out: Damian Cummins, Bruce Fenley, Jerry Perrins, Chris Raymond, Tim Smith.

Harlequins: Like Bath, Wasps and Leicester, Quins are in Europe this season and have recruited some forward firepower to support a back division which finished 1995-96 with a blaze of tries. Word is that they may soon be augmented by Wigan's Gary Connolly.

In: Laurent Benezech, Laurent Cabannes, Michael Corcoran, Gareth Llewellyn, Glyn Llewellyn, Dan Luger, Steve Pilgrim, Keith Wood.

Out: Will Greenwood, Simon Mitchell, Brian Moore, Martin Pepper, Chris Sheasby.

Leicester: Likely to be the most powerful pack in England again with possible international recognition for Richard Cockerill and Darren Garforth in the offing. Rob Liley teams up with brother John and several other class backs have also signed on with last season's double runners-up.

In: Greg Austin, Neil Fletcher, Will Greenwood, Austin Healey, Craig Joiner, Rob Liley.

Out: Jamie Hamilton, Jez Harris, Wayne Kilford, Andy McAdam, Richie Robinson, Chris Tarbuck.

London Irish: After some pre-season sabre-rattling, Clive Woodward has settled his differences with the promoted Exiles. Three internationals have been recruited, but will problems arise again when Ireland's selectors call on players to attend squad sessions on crucial weekends?

In: Victor Costello, Jeremy Davidson, Kieron Dawson, Malcolm O'Kelly, Kevin Richardson, Niall Woods.

Out: Michael Corcoran, Colin Hall, Cameron Short.

Northampton: Last season's runaway League Two winners have a first-team squad of more than 40 players and should challenge for a place in Europe with skipper Tim Rodber determined to regain his England place.

In: Mark Fountaine, John Hearn, Matt Stewart, Shem Tatupu.

Out: John Etheridge, Frank Packman.

Orrell: One of the clubs who are spending their money carefully. Director of rugby Peter Williams has used his rugby league connections to attract a few new signings, but they could struggle.

In: Frano Botica, Steve Cook, Dave Gaskell, Ian Hamer, Nigel Heslop, Rob Hitchmough, David Lyon, Richard Nelson, Jason Smith, Stuart Turner, Ian Worsley, Michael Worsley.

Out: Clive Cooper, Austin Healey, Paul Johnson, Dan Luger, Paul Manley, Simon Mason, Richard Mathias, Peter Mitchell, Alun Peacock, Graeme Smith, Phil Winstanley, Ian Wynn.

Sale: Problems loom for the club who finished a creditable fifth in the league in April but have since lost player-coach Paul Turner. Of their new players, John Devereux has a broken ankle and the former All Black Simon Mannix cannot get a work permit.

In: John Devereux, Richie Eyres, Sean Fletcher, Adrian Hadley, John Mitchell, Dewi Morris, Darren Wright, Phil Winstanley.

Out: Paul Hewitt, Phil Jee, Rob Liley, Guy Parker, Paul Turner, Nick Wheeler, Michael Worsley.

Saracens: The first League One club to go on a spending spree. Reprieved from relegation at the negotiating table, but despite the quality of their new backs there are still doubts about the strength of their front five.

In: Kyran Bracken, Darren Edwards, Matthew Evans, Brimah Kebbie, Paddy Johns, Michael Lynagh, Philippe Sella, Paul Wallace, Richard Wallace.

Out: None.

Wasps: Apart from whether Wasps can ever hope to fill Loftus Road, the main question is which of the three new fly-halves will come out on top. Lawrence Dallaglio's men are expected to challenge prominently again.

In: Damian Cronin, Mike Griffiths, Alex King, Matthew Lewis, Simon Mitchell, Martin Pepper, Gareth Rees, Paul Sampson, Chris Sheasby, Martyn Wood.

Out: Chris Braithwaite, Paul Delaney, Matt Griffiths, Chris Wilkins.

West Hartlepool: Last season's whitewashed wooden spoonists, not much richer or more hopeful this time round, but Welsh coach Mark Ring has at least lured compatriots Kevin Moseley and Matthew Silva north.

In: Jamie Connelly, Karl Cragg, Ivan Morgan, Kevin Moseley, Matthew Silva.

Out: Andrew Blyth, Steve Cook, Paul Hodder, Steve Jones, Phil Lancaster, Rob Leach, Martin Shaw, Mike Shelley, Tim Stimpson, Rob Wainwright, Jim Williams.