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New Zealand Super rugby squads for 2020 confirmed

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The New Zealand Rugby union have announced the five Super rugby squads for the 2020 Super rugby season which b officially kicks off on 31 January 2020.

The full list of 195 players representing the five Super rugby teams includes 46 ‘rookies’ who have earned Super Rugby contracts for the first time.

There are also nine international players with all five clubs fielding at least one, seven sets of siblings, and 11 players whose fathers also played Super Rugby.

The official rookies’ class of 2020 is:

Blues (8): Emoni Narawa, Kurt Eklund, Baden Wardlaw (Bay of Plenty), Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa (Auckland), Jared Page, Mark Telea, Jack Heighton (North Harbour), Jordan Hyland* (Northland).

Chiefs (9): Bradley Slater*, Kini Naholo, Lisati Milo-Harris (Taranaki), Quinn Tupaea (Waikato), Ryan Coxon* (Tasman), Naitoa Ah Kuoi (Wellington), Dylan Nel (Otago), Kaleb Trask (Bay of Plenty), Orbyn Leger* (Counties Manukau).

Hurricanes (5): Kane Leaupepe* (Bay of Plenty), Xavier Numia* (Wellington), Pouri Rakete-Stones, Devan Flanders, Danny Toala* (Hawke’s Bay).

Crusaders (12): Isi Tuungafasi* (Northland), George Bower* (Otago), Tom Christie, Brodie McAlister*, Cullen Grace, Fergus Burke, Inga Finau, Dallas McLeod (Canterbury), Ethan Roots (North Harbour), Sione Havili*, Fetuli Paea (Tasman), Sevu Reece* (Waikato).

Highlanders (12): Jeff Thwaites*, Zane Kapeli (Bay of Plenty), Jona Nareki, Ricky Jackson, Sione Misiloi (Otago), Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Ethan De Groot (Southland), Jesse Parete* (Taranaki), Kirisi Kuridrani** (Counties Manukau), Teariki Ben-Nicholas, Connor Garden-Bachop (Wellington), Scott Gregory (Northland).

*Previously played Super Rugby on an interim contract.
**Previously played Super Rugby in Australia.

Highlighting the strength of New Zealand Rugby’s development pathway are eight players from the 2019 New Zealand Under 20 squad – Dallas McLeod, Cullen Grace, Fergus Burke and Leicester Faingaanuku (Crusaders); Etene Nanai-Seturo, Quinn Tupaea (Chiefs); Devan Flanders (Hurricanes); and Scott Gregory (Highlanders). An additional 21 players have previously been part of the New Zealand Under 20 programme.

Lock Cullen Grace at the Crusaders will be the youngest player at 19 years old, while Hurricanes prop Ben May will be the oldest, at 37.

Nanai-Seturo and Gregory, along with Caleb Clarke (Blues) and Salesi Rayasi (Hurricanes), have put their names forward to join the All Blacks Sevens Olympic campaign next year, meaning the Chiefs, Highlanders, Blues and Hurricanes have been allowed to contract an extra player as cover for the 2020 season.

There are nine international recruits including thrice-capped England and Harlequins centre-wing Joe Marchant at the Blues, and former Sharks centre Kobus van Wyk, who joins the Hurricanes from South Africa.

Canadian captain Tyler Ardron returns from Rugby World Cup duties to the Chiefs, Tongan Rugby World Cup call-up Fetuli Paea joins the Crusaders, while former Australian under 20s representative Kirisi Kuridrani links up with the Highlanders.

Other international players include Samoa’s Ray Niuia (Blues) and Kane Leaupepe (Hurricanes), Tonga’s Zane Kapeli (Highlanders), and United States representative Tony Lamborn (Blues).

Family ties are as strong as ever. Rookies Isi Tuungafasi (Crusaders) and Connor Garden-Bachop (Highlanders) and the return of Peter Umaga-Jensen (Hurricanes) join the ranks of sibling sets which total seven in 2020.

Tuungafasi is the younger brother of Blues and All Blacks prop Ofa, Garden-Bachop is the younger brother of Hurricanes first five-eighth Jackson, while Umaga-Jensen’s twin brother Thomas is a Highlander. The other twins are the Goodhue boys, Jack (Crusaders) and Josh (Blues).

Beauden Barrett’s move to the Blues means the family’s sibling rivalry now stretches across three clubs with Jordie at the Hurricanes, and Scott with the Crusaders. Rieko and Akira Ioane (Blues); and the Lienert-Brown boys Anton (Chiefs) and Daniel (Highlanders) round out the seven sets of Super siblings.

New Zealand Rugby Chief Rugby Officer Nigel Cass congratulated all the players on their selection.

“The year following a Rugby World Cup inevitably creates opportunities for young players and we are fortunate that a large group of players have taken that chance with both hands.

“The Mitre 10 Cup has once again developed players to a high level and our New Zealand Under 20 programme continues to deliver exceptional talent.”

The mixture of youth and experience across the five squads was symbolic of how the competition had evolved during the past 25 years, Cass said.

“When you see there are 11 players in the 2020 squads whose father also played Super Rugby, you start to appreciate the competition’s rich history.

“Like those players, many of our fans will have a deep connection to Super Rugby through attending matches with their parents, and now bringing their own children to the games.

“We’ve moved kick-off times forward to make the competition more accessible to families and we’re looking forward to making more special memories as we celebrate 25 years with some exciting and entertaining rugby.”

New Zealand’s Super Rugby squads

Blues 2020 Super rugby squad

Forwards: Kurt Eklund, Ray Niuia, James Parsons, Alex Hodgman, Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Sione Mafileo, Marcel Renata, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Ofa Tuungafasi, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Josh Goodhue, Jacob Pierce, Patrick Tuipulotu, Baden Wardlaw, Blake Gibson, Akira Ioane, Tony Lamborn, Dalton Papalii, Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa, Tom Robinson, Hoskins Sotutu, James Tucker

Backs: Finlay Christie, Sam Nock, Jonathan Ruru, Beauden Barrett, Otere Black, Jack Heighton, Stephen Perofeta, Harry Plummer, TJ Faiane, Rieko Ioane, Joe Marchant, Tanielu Tele’a, Caleb Clarke, Matt Duffie, Jordan Hyland, Emoni Narawa, Jared Page, Mark Telea

Chiefs 2020 Super rugby squad

Forwards: Nathan Harris, Bradley Slater, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ryan Coxon, Nepo Laulala, Atunaisa Moli, Reuben O’Neill, Aidan Ross, Angus Ta’avao, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Tyler Ardron, Michael Allardice, Laghlan McWhannell, Lachlan Boshier, Mitchell Brown, Sam Cane, Pita Gus Sowakula, Luke Jacobson, Mitchell Karpik, Dylan Nel

Backs: Lisati Milo-Harris, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Brad Weber, Aaron Cruden, Tiaan Falcon, Damian McKenzie, Kaleb Trask, Orbyn Leger, Anton Lienert-Brown, Tumua Manu, Alex Nankivell, Bailyn Sullivan, Solomon Alaimalo, Sam McNicol, Kini Naholo, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Shaun Stevenson, Quinn Tupaea, Sean Wainui

Crusaders 2020 Super rugby squad 

Forwards: Andrew Makalio, Brodie McAlister, Codie Taylor, Michael Alaalatoa, Harry Allan, George Bower, Oliver Jager, Joe Moody, Isileli Tuungafasi, Scott Barrett, Mitchell Dunshea, Luke Romano, Quinten Strange, Ethan Blackadder, Tom Christie, Whetukamokamo Douglas, Cullen Grace, Billy Harmon, Sione Havili, Ethan Roots, Tom Sanders

Backs: Mitchell Drummond, Ereatara Enari, Bryn Hall, Fergus Burke, Brett Cameron, Richie Mo’unga, Braydon Ennor, Inga Finau, Jack Goodhue, Dallas McLeod, George Bridge, Leicester Faingaanuku, David Havili, Will Jordan, Manasa Mataele, Fetuli Paea, Sevu Reece

Highlanders 2020 Super rugby squad

Forwards: Liam Coltman, Ash Dixon, Ricky Jackson, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Josh Iosefa-Scott, Ayden Johnstone, Siate Tokolahi, Jeff Thwaites, Ethan De Groot, Pari Pari Parkinson, Josh Dickson, Jack Whetton, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, James Lentjes, Dillon Hunt, Marino Mikaele Tu’u, Shannon Frizell, Sione Misiloi, Zane Kapeli, Teariki Ben-Nicholas, Jesse Parete

Backs: Aaron Smith, Kayne Hammington, Folau Fakatava, Bryn Gatland, Josh Ioane, Mitch Hunt, Rob Thompson, Patelesio Tomkinson, Teihorangi Walden, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Scott Gregory, Ngane Punivai, Jona Nareki, Tevita Nabura, Josh McKay, Michael Collins, Kirisi Kuridrani, Connor Garden-Bachop

Hurricanes 2020 Super rugby squad

Forwards: Asafo Aumua, Dane Coles, Ricky Riccitelli, Fraser Armstrong, Alex Fidow, Tyrel Lomax, Ben May, Xavier Numia, Pouri Rakete-Stones, James Blackwell, Devan Flanders, Kane Leaupepe, Liam Mitchell, Scott Scrafton, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Gareth Evans, Vaea Fifita, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Reed Prinsep, Ardie Savea, Murphy Taramai

Backs: Jamie Booth, TJ Perenara, Jonathan Taumateine, Jackson Garden-Bachop, James Marshall, Fletcher Smith, Vince Aso, Jordie Barrett, Ngani Laumape, Jonah Lowe, Billy Proctor, Danny Toala, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Kobus Van Wyk, Wes Goosen, Ben Lam, Salesi Rayasi, Chase Tiatia

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