The Super Rugby Pacific franchises name their squads for the 2024 season today.
A few big revelations have emerged already, with the Crusaders confirming the signing of Wales star Leigh Halfpenny and the return of former All Black Ryan Crotty, Angus Ta’avao returns to the Blues, while the likes of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Sam Cane, and Beauden Barrett will not return for their respective teams.
In a further suprise, the Crusaders announced that 85-test All Black Codie Taylor will not be available for the start of the Super Rugby season.
“Codie Taylor is taking a non-playing sabbatical for the majority of the 2024 Super Rugby season. He’s been away from home for an extended period recently and the Crusaders fully respect and support him taking this time.
“Codie’s expected to be available for selection for the last few rounds of the ‘24 season,” the Crusaders said in a statement on their website.
Everything else you need to know about squad naming day is below the blog.
Chiefs squad 2024
Sione Ahio (Auckland, 0), Naitoa Ah Kuoi (Bay of Plenty, 49), Kaylum Boshier (Taranaki, 17), Liam Coombes-Fabling (Waikato, 4), George Dyer (Waikato, 21), Samipeni Finau (Waikato, 32), Tom Florence (Taranaki, 3), Josh Ioane (Waikato, 17), Luke Jacobson (Waikato, 63), Kauvaka Kaivelata (Counties Manukau, 0), Anton Lienert-Brown (Waikato, 106), Josh Lord (Taranaki, 19), Peniasi Malimali (Counties Manukau, 3), Damian McKenzie (Waikato, 111), Etene Nanai-Seturo (Counties Manukau, 44), Emoni Narawa (Bay of Plenty, 29), Ollie Norris (Waikato, 45), Reuben O’Neill (Taranaki, 15), Simon Parker (Waikato, 8), Rameka Poihipi (Canterbury, 30), Jared Proffit (Taranaki, 4), Cortez Ratima (Waikato, 26), Xavier Roe (Waikato, 17), Daniel Rona (Taranaki, 9), Aidan Ross (Bay of Plenty, 74), Manaaki Selby-Rickit (Bay of Plenty, 5), Wallace Sititi (North Harbour, 0), Bradley Slater (Taranaki, 49), Shaun Stevenson (North Harbour, 84), Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Bay of Plenty, 50), Samisoni Taukei’aho (Waikato, 78), Tyrone Thompson (Hawkes Bay, 15), Kaleb Trask (Bay of Plenty, 23), Quinn Tupaea (Waikato, 34), Jimmy Tupou (Counties Manukau, 0), Tupou Vaa’i (Taranaki, 44), Gideon Wrampling (Waikato, 2), Malachi Wrampling-Alec (Waikato, 0).
Highlanders squad 2024
Backs: James Arscott (Otago), Connor Garden-Bachop (Wellington), Martín Bogado (Argentina), Folau Fakatava (Hawkes Bay), Ajay Faleafaga (Otago), Sam Gilbert (Otago), Nathan Hastie (Otago), Jacob Ratumaituvuki-Kneepkens (Taranaki), Jonah Lowe (Hawkes Bay), Cameron Millar (Otago), Jona Nareki (Otago), Rhys Patchell (Wales), Jake Te Hiwi (Otago), Timoci Tavatavanawai (Tasman), Tanielu Tele’a (Auckland), Josh Timu (Otago), Matt Whaanga (Southland).
Forwards: Jermaine Ainsley (Otago), Henry Bell (Otago), Nikora Broughton (Bay of Plenty), Daniel Lienert-Brown (Canterbury), Mitchell Dunshea (Canterbury), Ethan De Groot (Southland), Oliver Haig (Otago), Billy Harmon (Canterbury), Max Hicks (Tasman), Fabian Holland (Otago), Luca Inch (Tasman), Ricky Jackson (Otago), Ayden Johnstone (Waikato), Saula Ma’u (Otago), Hayden Michaels (Southland), Pari Pari Parkinson (Tasman), Hugh Renton (Tasman), Tom Sanders (Otago), Jack Taylor (Southland), Will Tucker (Otago), Sean Withy (Otago).
Moana Pasifika squad 2024
Backs: Jonathan Taumateine, Ereatara Enari, Aisea Halo*, William Havili, Christian Lealiifano, Lalomilo Lalomilo*, Henry Taefu, D’angelo Leuila, Pepesana Patafilo*, Fine Inisi, Neria Fomai, Anzelo Tuitavuki, Viliame Fine*, Nigel Ah Wong, Julian Savea*, Danny Toala, Otumaka Mausia*.
Forwards: James Lay*, Abraham Pole, Sateki Latu*, Samiuela Moli, Sama Malolo*, Tomasi Maka*, Donald Brighthouse*, Sekope Kepu, Suetena Asomua, Samuel Slade, Tom Savage*, Ofa Tauetavalu*, Irie Papuni*, Viliame Napa’a*, Miracle Faiilagi, Ola Tauelangi*, Alamanda Motuga, Solomone Funaki, Semisi Paea*, Sione Havili Talitui*, Lotu Inisi. *New players
Hurricanes squad 2024
Backs: Richard Judd, TJ Perenara, Cam Roigard, Brett Cameron, Aidan Morgan, Jordie Barrett, Riley Higgins, Billy Proctor, Bailyn Sullivan, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Harry Godfrey, Ruben Love, Josh Moorby, Kini Naholo, Ngatungane Punivai, Salesi Rayasi, Daniel Sinkinson.
Forwards: Siale Lauaki, Tyrel Lomax, Tevita Mafileo, Xavier Numia, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Pasilio Tosi, Asafo Aumua, Jacob Devery, James O’Reilly, Caleb Delany, Ben Grant, Justin Sangster, Josh Taula, James Tucker, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Devan Flanders, TK Howden, Brayden Iose, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Peter Lakai, Brad Shields.
Blues squad 2024
Backs: Kade Banks (North Harbour, 0), Lucas Cashmore (BOP, 0), Finlay Christie (Tasman, 45), Caleb Clarke (Auckland, 49), Corey Evans (Auckland, 6), Cole Forbes (BOP, 0), Taufa Funaki (Auckland, 13), Meihana Grindlay (Taranaki, 0), Bryce Heem (Auckland, 33), Rieko Ioane (Auckland, 101), AJ Lam (Auckland, 29), Sam Nock (Northland, 63), Stephen Perofeta (Taranaki, 57), Harry Plummer (Auckland, 58), Zarn Sullivan (Auckland, 32), Caleb Tangitau (Auckland, 1), Mark Tele’a (North Harbour, 52)
Forwards: Josh Beehre (Auckland, 0), Adrian Choat (Auckland, 32), Sam Darry (Canterbury, 23), Kurt Eklund (BOP, 51), Joshua Fusitu’a (Auckland, 6) Akira Ioane (Auckland, 106), Jordan Lay (Auckland, 20), Laghlan McWhannell (Waikato, 0), Dalton Papali’i (Counties Manakau, 68), Marcel Renata (Auckland, 38), Ricky Riccitelli (Taranaki, 24), Rob Rush (Northland, 1), Anton Segner (Tasman, 16), PJ Sheck (Wellington, 0), Hoskins Sotutu (Counties Manakau, 50), Cameron Suafoa (North Harbour, 18), Angus Ta’avao (Auckland, 49), James Thompson (Counties Manakau, 0), Patrick Tuipulotu (Auckland, 99), Ofa Tu’ungafasi (Northland, 136), Soane Vikena (Auckland, 18)
Crusaders squad 2024
Backs: Noah Hotham, Mitchell Drummond, Willi Heinz, Fergus Burke, Taha Kemara, Rivez Reihana, David Havili, Dallas McLeod, Levi Aumua, Ryan Crotty, Jone Rova, Will Jordan, Sevu Reece, Macca Springer, Manasa Mataele, Chay Fihaki, Leigh Halfpenny, Heremaia Murray.
Forwards: Codie Taylor, Brodie McAlister, George Bell, Ioane Moananu, Joe Moody, Finlay Brewis, George Bower, Tamaiti Williams, Fletcher Newell, Scott Barrett, Quinten Strange, Tahlor Cahill, Zach Gallagher, Jamie Hannah, Ethan Blackadder, Cullen Grace, Tom Christie, Christian Lio-Willie, Corey Kellow, Dominic Gardiner.
All Blacks on sabbatical
⋅ Chiefs captain Sam Cane is headed overseas to Japan after taking up a sabbatical with Tokyo Sungoliath. He will return to New Zealand in June to be available for selection to the All Blacks for the 2024 Steinlager Series and Rugby Championship campaign.
⋅ Hurricanes loose forward Ardie Savea will also take an offshore playing break in 2024, heading to Japan this year. The 29-year-old will return to New Zealand in June 2024 and play through until the end of the 2025 season.
All Blacks and high-profile players leaving New Zealand
⋅ Blues first five-eighths Beauden Barrett, a once-in-a-generation player, has signed with Toyota Verblitz in 2024 but it’s expected that he will return to New Zealand, potentially as soon as 2025.
⋅ Blues prop Nepo Laulala has built a reputation as one of the world’s leading scrummagers since making his All Blacks debut in 2015 and is taking his talents to Toulouse next year.
⋅ Blues midfielder Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is headed back to Mt Smart, signing a three-year deal with the Warriors.
⋅ Chiefs lock Brodie Retallick is reuniting with former Chiefs and Wallabies coach Dave Rennie at Japanese club Kobelco Kobe Steelers on a three-year deal.
⋅ Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles has at least one more stop before he hops off the rugby train as Japan’s Top League champions Kubota Spears Funabashi announced his signing.
⋅ Crusaders lock Sam Whitelock has played more than 350 first-class matches but isn’t done yet, having signed with French team Pau alongside brother Luke.
⋅ Crusaders first five-eighths Richie Mo’unga leaves for Japan next year until 2026 in prime form having signed a deal with Toshiba Brave Lupus, along with Frizell.
⋅ Crusaders winger Leicester Fainga’anuku signed with French club Toulon earlier this year, covering one and a half seasons, finishing in July 2025.
⋅ Highlanders halfback Aaron Smith, who has played the most games for the club, has signed a long-term contract with Toyota Verblitz and will be joined by Beauden Barrett.
⋅ Highlanders flanker Shannon Frizell has signed a deal with Toshiba Brave Lupus, who are coached by Todd Blackadder. There is a chance Frizell will come back to New Zealand’s shores, with his contract thought to be for one year.
⋅ Other notable players headed overseas are Tom Robinson (Blues), Brad Weber (Chiefs), Alex Nankivell (Chiefs), Pita Gus Sowakula (Chiefs), Jack Goodhue (Crusaders), and Marino Mikaele Tu’u (Highlanders).
When does the Super Rugby Pacific season start?
Super Rugby Pacific will start with a grand final rematch between the Crusaders and Chiefs on Friday, February 23, at FMG Stadium in Hamilton.
The 2024 draw sees the 12 teams playing 14 matches during the regular season, consisting of 11 round-robin matches and three additional rivalry clashes, followed by an eight-team finals series.
Round two will see all 12 teams come together in Melbourne for the Super Round for a three-day festival of rugby at AAMI Park.
Anzac Day will be honoured in round 10 while the Culture Round in round 12 will see the competition celebrate the diversity in the game.
The Fijian Drua will again play their seven home games in Fiji and Moana Pasifika are currently exploring opportunities to host fixtures in Samoa and other destinations across the Pacific.
What is the Super Rugby Pacific draw?
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