The five New Zealand Super Rugby franchises have announced their squads for the 2013 Super Rugby season with 43 debutants being named in the 159 listed players.
Each of the franchises - the Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders - have released their squads after the coaches completed the draft process and finalised their squads yesterday.
New Zealand Rugby Union General Manager Professional Rugby Neil Sorensen said squads selections this year show a great mix of experienced and new and young talent.
"It's always great to see the guys who play ITM Cup or represent one of our other national teams step up to this competition which we consider to be the best international regional rugby competition in the world.
"Among the 43 players who have not previously been named in a Super Rugby squad, we see nine New Zealand Under 20 players from 2012 selected, and four members from the 2012 Sevens All Blacks squad."
The squads also include 20 of this year's Maori All Blacks side to travel to England next week for a three-match tour.
A further 25 players will be named in franchise wider training squads later this month.
"There is no doubt we have some outstanding talent in our squads for next year with a great mix of new and experienced players.
Outstanding form in this year's ITM Cup has seen many players earn a Super Rugby strip for next year.
ITM Cup Championship winners Counties Manukau have 10 of their players named in Super squads including seven debutants and Premiership winners Canterbury has an impressive 29 of their provincial players offered Super Rugby contracts including seven debutants.
Current champions the Chiefs have included seven newcomers in their squad but their first-round opponent - the Highlanders - have emerged as the biggest winners in the off-season recruitment drive.
The Chiefs have managed to retain most of the players who helped them win their first Super rugby title, holding on to stars such as flyhalf Aaron Cruden, center Richard Kahui and new All Blacks scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow.
Where necessary, they have recruited judiciously, picking up former All Blacks lock Ross Filipo on his return from Japan and former Blues flyhalf Gareth Anscombe.
The Highlanders have emerged as potentially the strongest of New Zealand's five clubs by pulling of a series of recruitment coups.
Under coach Jamie Joseph, who has turned the franchise from cellar-dwellers to contenders over the last two seasons, the Highlanders have picked up veteran ex-All Blacks lock Brad Thorn and current All Blacks Tony Woodcock, at prop, and Ma'a Nonu at center.
All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore will captain the team which contains only 31 instead of the regulation 32 players because Otago has spent up to the salary cap.
The seven-time champion Canterbury Crusaders have named nine new players in a 32-man squad, though none are current All Blacks. Samoa World Cup scrumhalf Jeremy Su'a and prop Nepo Laulala, a brother of former All Blacks center Casey Laulala, are the most notable newcomers.
Crusaders and All Blacks captain Richie McCaw will miss most of the Super 15 season while on "sabbatical," a lengthy break from rugby designed to extend his career at international level.
All Blacks prop Ben Franks has joined the Wellington Hurricanes after quitting the Crusaders and considering a move to the Highlanders. Franks hopes by moving from Canterbury to avoid the competition for propping places he faced at the Crusaders from his All Blacks teammates Owen Franks - his older brother - and Wyatt Crockett.
The most changed of the New Zealand franchises is the Blues, under new head coach John Kirwan, which has 16 new faces.
Kirwan, who previously coached Italy and Japan, called the squad "young and exciting."
The only current All Blacks in the Blues' squad are Ali Williams, Keven Mealamu, Charlie Faumuina and Piri Weepu and 24 of the 32 players are under the age of 25.
Former All Blacks and Reds flanker Daniel Braid has missed selection.
Super Rugby 2013 kicks off on 15 February next year.
Chiefs 2013 Super Rugby Squad
Ben Afeaki , Bundee Aki, Gareth Anscombe, Sam Cane, Craig Clarke, Nick Crosswell, Aaron Cruden , Hikawera Elliot , Ross Filipo, Mike Fitzgerald , Romana Graham , Josh Hohneck, Andrew Horrell , Richard Kahui , Tawera Kerr-Barlow , Tanerau Latimer , Fritz Lee , Brendon Leonard , Rhys Marshall, Lelia Masaga , Liam Messam , Tim Nanai-Williams , Charlie Ngatai, Patrick Osborne, Augustine Pulu , Brodie Retallick, Robbie Robinson , Mahonri Schwalger, Toby Smith , Solomona Sakalia, Ben Tameifuna , Asaeli Tikoirotuma.* denotes new recruits
Blues 2013 Super Rugby Squad
Kane Barrett, Anthony Boric, Luke Braid, Charlie Faumuina , Malakai Fekitoa , Jamison Gibson-Park , Frank Halai, Bryn Hall, Baden Kerr , Steven Luatua , Qu e ntin MacDonald, Tom McCartney, Marty McKenzie , Keven Mealamu , George Moala , Liaki Moli, Waisake Naholo, Chris Noakes , Brendon O'Connor, James Parsons , Tim Perry , Charles Piutau, Ronald Raaymakers , Rene Ranger , Culum Retallick , Francis Saili, Peter Saili , Angus Ta'avao , Ofa Tu'ungafasi , Piri Weepu, Ali Williams , Jackson Willison.
Crusaders 2013 Crusaders squad:
Dominic Bird ,Tyler Bleyendaal ,Dan Carter ,Shane Christie ,Wyatt Crockett ,Ryan Crotty ,Israel Dagg ,Tom Donnelly ,Andy Ellis ,Corey Flynn ,Owen Franks ,Robbie Fruean ,Ben Funnell ,Zac Guildford ,Willi Heinz ,Nepo Laulala ,Tom Marshall ,Richie McCaw ,Johnny McNicholl ,Joe Moody ,Kieran Read,Luke Romano,Jeremy Su'a,Jordan Taufua,Codie Taylor,Tom Taylor,Matt Todd , Jimmy Tupou ,Adam Whitelock ,George Whitelock ,Luke Whitelock ,Sam Whitelock.
Highlanders 2013 Super Rugby Squad:
Forwards : Josh Bekhuis , Tim Boys, Liam Coltman , Elliot Dixon, Ma'afu Fia, John Hardie , Jarrad Hoeata, Andrew Hore , Chris King , Jamie Mackintosh, Nasi Manu , Brayden Mitchell , Jake Paringatai , Brad Thorn, Joe Wheeler , Tony Woodcock, Backs ::Phil Burleigh , Tamati Ellison, Jason Emery, Hosea Gear , Ma'a Nonu , Declan O'Donnell, Kade Poki, Hayden Parker , Buxton Popoalii , Colin Slade Aaron Smith , Ben Smith , Lima Sopoaga, Fumiaki Tanaka , Shaun Treeby.
Hurricanes 2013 Super Rugby squad:
James Broadhurst, Beauden Barrett , Dane Coles , Tim Bateman, Jason Eaton , Samisoni Fisilau ,Ben Franks, Cory Jane , Reggie Goodes , Rey Lee-Lo , Jack Lam , Alapati Leuia , Faifili Levave , James Marshall , Karl Lowe, TJ Perenara , Motu Matu'u , Tusi Pisi, Ben May , Matt Proctor , Mark Reddish , Julian Savea , Ardie Savea , Conrad Smith , Brad Shields, Chris Smylie , Eric Sione , Andre Taylor , Blade Thomson , Jeremy Thrush , Jeffery Toomaga-Allen , Victor Vito.