With the start of the 2020 Super Rugby season fast approaching, the five New Zealand-based teams have locked in their final squads. Beauden Barret’s move from the Hurricanes to the Blues headlines all signings while position swaps and an increase in young talent will make for an intriguing start to the season.
While there weren’t an abundance of blockbuster signings, the Blues’ acquisition of Barret – the former World Rugby Player of the Year – was significant.
The Auckland-based side, who haven’t seen playoff action in eight years, also granted the request of Reiko Ioane to move from No.11 to No.13. The move comes only four years into the promising career of Ioane, who lost his spot as a winger in the All Blacks Test side after an underwhelming year.
Meanwhile, the reigning three-peat champion Crusaders, have suffered a myriad of losses including Ryan Crotty, Kieran Read, Matt Todd, Israel Dagg and former captain Sam Whitelock.
This experience loss of a combined 497 Test caps may make the team from Christchurch an easier beat in 2020 as their future success now rests on the shoulders of returning youngsters such as Will Jordan, Sevu Reece, Ethan Blackadder, and Billy Harmon.
The Highlanders are another team that will be without key players from previous years of success. Ben Smith and Waisake Nahalo are the most notable of these departures among several other All Blacks that have moved on for various reasons.
The 2015 champions have been on a steady decline, barely scraping into the playoffs last season, although have made some strong additions in Teariki Ben-Nicholas, Zane Kapeli, Jesse Parete and Sione Misiloi.
Without a direct replacement for Barret at flyhalf, the Hurricanes have instead bolstered other areas with the signing of South African Kobus Van-Wyke – a rare cross-border switch within Super Rugby.
Also suffering a significant loss are the Chiefs, whose forward lineup will be weakened with the absence of Brodie Retallick in the second row. But an exciting backline revamp including the likes of Quinn Tupaea, Kini Naholo and Kaleb Trask will make the Chiefs a fun team to watch in season 2020.
Finlay Christie (15), Sam Nock (22), Jonathan Ruru (27), Beauden Barrett (125), Otere Black (36), Jack Heighton (*), Stephen Perofeta (15), Harry Plummer (16), TJ Faiane (30), Rieko Ioane (48), Joe Marchant (*), Tanielu Tele’a (9), Caleb Clarke (13), Matt Duffie (41), Jordan Hyland (7), Emoni Narawa (*), Jared Page (*), Mark Telea (*).
Kurt Eklund (*), Ray Niuia (1), James Parsons (105), Alex Hodgman (33), Ezekiel Lindenmuth (2), Sione Mafileo (41), Marcel Renata (8), Karl Tu’inukuafe (26), Ofa Tuungafasi (79), Gerard Cowley-Tuioti (43), Josh Goodhue (18), Jacob Pierce (2), Patrick Tuipulotu (67), Baden Wardlaw (*), Blake Gibson (40), Akira Ioane (64), Tony Lamborn (4), Dalton Papalii (21), Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa (*), Tom Robinson (15), Hoskins Sotutu (1), James Tucker (*).
Lisati Milo-Harris (*), Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (42), Brad Weber (71), Aaron Cruden (114), Tiaan Falcon (3), Damian McKenzie (72), Kaleb Trask (*). Midfielders: Orbyn Leger (9), Anton Lienert-Brown (68), Tumua Manu (20), Alex Nankivell (21), Bailyn Sullivan (5), Solomon Alaimalo (37), Sam McNicol (12), Kini Naholo (*), Etene Nanai-Seturo (11), Shaun Stevenson (33), Quinn Tupaea (*), Sean Wainui (35).
Nathan Harris (58), Bradley Slater (2), Samisoni Taukei’aho (22), Ryan Coxon (4), Nepo Laulala (64), Atu Moli (36), Reuben O’Neill (*), Aidan Ross (24), Angus Ta’avao (79), Naitoa Ah Kuoi (*), Tyler Ardron (26), Michael Allardice (40), Laghlan McWhannell (*), Lachlan Boshier (42), Mitchell Brown (31), Sam Cane (111), Pita Gus Sowakula (15), Luke Jacobson (21), Mitchell Karpik (19), Dylan Nel (*).
Jamie Booth (11), TJ Perenara (127), Jonathan Taumateine (10), Jackson Garden-Bachop (20), James Marshall (53), Fletcher Smith (22), Vince Aso (44), Jordie Barrett (48), Ngani Laumape (60), Jonah Lowe (3), Billy Proctor (1), Danny Toala (2), Peter Umaga-Jensen (5), Kobus Van Wyk (*), Wes Goosen (37), Ben Lam (38), Salesi Rayasi (5), Chase Tiatia (11).
Asafo Aumua (15), Dane Coles (110), Ricky Riccitelli (56), Fraser Armstrong (22), Alex Fidow (4), Tyrel Lomax (30), Ben May (124), Xavier Numia (9), Pouri Rakete-Stones (*), James Blackwell (23), Devan Flanders (*), Kane Leaupepe (10), Liam Mitchell (12), Scott Scrafton (22), Isaia Walker-Leawere (18), Gareth Evans (67), Vaea Fifita (57), Du’Plessis Kirifi (15), Reed Prinsep (44), Ardie Savea (91), Murphy Taramai (*).
Mitchell Drummond (79), Ereatara Enari (5), Bryn Hall (84), Fergus Burke (*), Brett Cameron (6), Richie Mo’unga (57), Braydon Ennor (25), Jack Goodhue (44), Dallas McLeod (*), George Bridge (49), Leicester Faingaanuku (1), David Havili (75), Inga Finau (*), Will Jordan (9), Manasa Mataele (23), Fetuli Paea (*), Sevu Reece (14).
Andrew Makalio (33), Brodie McAlister (*), Codie Taylor (77), Michael Alaalatoa (69), Harry Allan (12), George Bower (10), Oliver Jager (15), Joe Moody (82), Isileli Tuungafasi (4), Scott Barrett (68), Mitchell Dunshea (9), Luke Romano (123), Quinten Strange (25), Ethan Blackadder (7), Tom Christie (*), Whetukamokamo Douglas (22), Cullen Grace (*), Billy Harmon (8), Sione Havili (*), Ethan Roots (*), Tom Sanders (28).
Folau Fakatava (3), Kayne Hammington (42), Aaron Smith (137), Bryn Gatland (20), Mitchell Hunt (43), Joshua Ioane (22), Michael Collins (29), Ngane Punivai (2), Rob Thompson (50), Patelesio Tomkinson (21), Teihorangi Walden (34), Connor Garden-Bachop (*), Scott Gregory (*), Karisi Kuridrani (*), Josh McKay (6), Tevita Nabura (3), Jona Nareki (*), Thomas Umaga-Jensen (7).
Liam Coltman (101), Ash Dixon (87), Ricky Jackson (1), Ethan De Groot (*), Josh Iosefa-Scott (1), Ayden Johnstone (15), Daniel Lienert-Brown (74), Jeff Thwaites (11), Siate Tokolahi (67), Josh Dickson (17), Pari Pari Parkinson (7), Manaaki Selby-Rickit (*), Jack Whetton (9), Teariki Ben-Nicholas (*), Shannon Frizell (27), Dillon Hunt (31), Zane Kapeli (*), James Lentjes (35), Marino Mikaele-tu’u (7), Sione Misiloi (*), Jesse Parete (24).