Super Rugby
Kiwi sides announce squads for new season
ESPNscrum Staff
November 10, 2010
New Zealand Super Rugby coaches - the Highlanders' Mark Hammett, the Highlanders' Jamie Joseph, the Crusaders' Todd Blackadder, the Blues' Pat Lam and the Chiefs' Ian Foster pose at the announcement of the Super Rugby squads, Eden park, Auckland, New Zealand, November 10, 2010
New Zealand Super Rugby coaches - the Highlanders' Mark Hammett, the Highlanders' Jamie Joseph, the Crusaders' Todd Blackadder, the Blues' Pat Lam and the Chiefs' Ian Foster pose at the announcement of the Super Rugby squads © Getty Images

New Zealand's five Super Rugby franchises have unveiled their expanded 32-man squads ahead of the new season.

New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) general manager of professional rugby Neil Sorensen said coaches and franchises had worked cooperatively - and competitively - to build strong squads for 2011.

"The introduction of the franchise contracting model has seen some exciting movements, and some promising new blood coming into the mix," Sorensen said. "This year sees 40 players picked for the first time into a Super Rugby squad and 12 existing players moving to new franchises."

Included in the squads are seven of this year's junior world champion under-20s side. "Next year will be an exciting year in New Zealand rugby, and it's fantastic that our rugby calendar kicks off with this world-class premier rugby competition," Sorensen said.

The Super Rugby competition expands to 15 teams next year, with the arrival of new Australian franchise the Melbourne Rebels. It also sees a revamped competition format, with a new three-Conference system within each of the three SANZAR nations.

This will see more local derbies, with all New Zealand teams playing home and away games against each other. New Zealand teams will also play four of the five teams from each of the other country Conferences.

Almost all of the changes were signposted in player announcements prior to today. The Blues have gone for a hometown feel, with all but two of their players coming from their feeder provinces, including Commonwealth Games sevens gold medallist Sherwin Stowers. Northland captain and fullback Jared Payne returns after two years with the Crusaders, while two senior players, flanker Daniel Braid and lock Brad Mika, are back from stints overseas.

The Chiefs have eight players new to the franchise's colours, including former All Blacks skipper Tana Umaga and two others with Test experience in lock Isaac Ross and loose forward Scott Waldrom.

The Hurricanes, one of two New Zealand franchises with a new coach in former Crusader Mark Hammett, have seven new players. They will start the campaign without flanker Karl Lowe and halfback Piri Weepu, recovering from injury.

The Crusaders have two particularly high profile additions in rookie All Blacks Sonny Bill Williams and Israel Dagg, the latter one of three players to move from the Highlanders. Williams, who made his Test debut against England last weekend, is one of five new Crusaders yet to experience Super rugby

The underperforming Highlanders, who also have a new coach in former Otago stalwart Jamie Joseph, are looking at rebuilding with a mix of experience and youth. The have five players new to Super rugby, but have retained a core of hardened campaigners that included new skipper Jamie Mackintosh, fellow forwards Adam Thompson and Tom Donnelly, and halfback Jimmy Cowan, while Canterbury first five-eighth Colin Slade is seen as a key acquisition.

The five New Zealand Super 15 rugby squads for next year are:

Blues: John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Daniel Braid, Luke Braid, Stephen Brett, Ash Dixon, Charlie Faumuina, Kurtis Haiu, Jerome Kaino, Chris Lowrey, Matthew Luamanu, Tevita Mailau, Alby Mathewson, Luke McAlister, Tom McCartney, Keven Mealamu, Brad Mika, Liaki Moli, Toby Morland, Lachie Munro, Filo Paulo, Jared Payne, Rene Ranger, Josevata Rokocoko, Peter Saili, Chris Smylie, Benson Stanley, Winston Stanley, Sherwin Stowers, Isaia Toeava, Ali Williams, Tony Woodcock.

Chiefs: Ben Afeaki, Colin Bourke, Craig Clark, Mike Delany, Aled de Malmanche, Stephen Donald, Hikawera Elliot, Romana Graham, Richard Kahui, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Tanerau Latimer, Fritz Lee, Brendon Leonard, Lelia Masaga, Ben May, Liam Messam, Taniela Moa, Malili Muliaina, Tim Nanai-Williams, Dan Perrin, Culum Retallick, Isaac Ross, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Toby Smith, Dwayne Sweeney, Sona Taumalolo, Save Tokula, Hayden Triggs, Tana Umaga, Scott Waldrom, Nathan White, Jackson Willison.

Hurricanes: Michael Bent, James Broadhurst, Dane Coles, Laurence Corlett, Aaron Cruden, Chris Eaton, Jason Eaton, Jacob Ellison, Bryn Evans, Hosea Gear, Andrew Hore, Cory Jane, Tyson Keats, Daniel Kirkpatrick, Jack Lam, Alipati Leiua, Faifili Levave, Serge Lilo, Karl Lowe, Charlie Ngatai, Ma'a Nonu, Anthony Perenise, Mark Reddish, Julian Savea, John Schwalger, Conrad Smith, Rodney So'oialo, Andre Taylor, Jeremy Thrush, Neemia Tialata, Victor Vito, Piri Weepu.

Crusaders: Nicholas Barrett, Matt Berquist, Tyler Bleyendaal, Dan Carter, Wyatt Crockett, Ryan Crotty, Israel Dagg, Andy Ellis, Corey Flynn, Kahn Fotuali'I, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Robbie Fruean, Zac Guildford, David Hall, Willi Heinz, Chris Jack, Quentin MacDonald, Sean Maitland, Tom Marshall, Richie McCaw, Andrew Olorenshaw, Jonathan Poff, Kieran Read, Luke Romano, Brad Thorn, Matt Todd, Joe Wheeler, Adam Whitelock, George Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Sonny Bill Williams.

Highlanders: Halani Aulika, Kurt Baker, Josh Bekhuis, Jimmy Cowan, Nick Crosswell, Elliot Dixon, Tom Donnelly, John Hardie, Jarrad Hoeata, Chris King, Kendrick Lynn, Jamie MacIntosh, Nasi Manu, Brayden Mitchell, Bronson Murray, James Paterson, Siale Piutau, Robbie Robinson, Sean Romans, Jason Rutledge, Matt Saunders, Mahonri Schwalger, Colin Slade, Aaron Smith, Ben Smith, Alando Soakai, Lima Sopoaga, David Te Moana, Adam Thomson, Shaun Treeby, Joe Tuineau, Telusa Veainu.

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