Thirty-three new players feature among the 190 professional players contracted by New Zealand’s five Super Rugby franchises for the 2019 season.
The Blues, Chiefs, Wellington, Crusaders and Highlanders have named their 38-strong squads on Wednesday after confirming the last of the remaining spots on their rosters.
Alongside familiar names, the squads include seven sets of brothers, and 33 names new to Super Rugby contracts, including 21 from the 2018 U20 development programme, demonstrating a strength in the emerging talent.
The new recruits signing Super Rugby contracts for the first time are:
Blues: Karl Tu’inukuafe, Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Jacob Pierce, Tom Robinson, Marcel Renata, Hoskins Sotutu, Harry Plummer, Tanielu Tele’a
Chiefs: Reuben O’Neill, Pita Gus Sowakula, Laghlan McWhannell, Jack Debreczeni, Tumua Manu, Bailyn Sullivan, Etene Nanai-Seturo
Crusaders: Whetu Douglas, Leicester Faingaanuku, Harrison Allan, Brett Cameron, Ngane Punavai
Highlanders: Ayden Johnstone, Sef Fa’agase, Marino Mikaele Tu’u, Josh Iosefa Scott, Ray Niuia, Jack Whetton, Folau Fakatava
Hurricanes: Fraser Armstrong, Liam Mitchell, Du Plessis Kirifi, Richard Judd, Billy Proctor, Salesi Rayasi
Several players from the U20 development programme went on to play in this year’s U20 World Championship
Hoskins Sotutu, Caleb Clarke, Harry Plummer, Tanielu Tele’a, Laghlan McWhannell, Bailyn Sullivan, Leicester Faingaanuku, Ngane Punivai and Billy Proctor.
There are seven sets of siblings
The Barretts, Beauden and Jordie (Hurricanes), and Scott (Crusaders); Rieko and Akira Ioane (Blues), Anton (Chiefs) and Daniel (Highlanders) Lienert-Brown; Damian and Marty McKenzie (Chiefs), Sam (Crusaders) and Luke (Highlanders) Whitelock, and twins Jack (Crusaders) and Josh (Blues) Goodhue were listed in the super siblings club in 2018 and this year they are joined by Matt and Billy Proctor (Chiefs).
Players returning from offshore next year are:
Ma’a Nonu (Blues), James Marshall (Hurricanes), Marty Banks (Highlanders), and Whetu Douglas (Crusaders).
At 36, two-time World Cup winning All Black Nonu, is the oldest of the 190 contracted, while scrum-half and rookie Highlander Folau Fakatava is the most junior at age 18 (19 in December).
Pedigree is strong across the squads:
- -Hoskins Sotutu (son of Blues and Auckland speedster Waisake)
- Caleb Clarke (son of former All Black Eroni)
- Akira and Rieko (Manu Samoa dad Eddie & Black Fern mum Sandra)
- Scott, Beauden and Jordie (sons of iconic Taranaki rugby figure, Smiley) Barrett
- Jackson Garden Bachop (son of All Black Stephen and Black Fern, the late Sue Garden Bachop)
- Ethan Blackadder (son of former Crusaders player, coach and All Blacks captain Todd Blackadder)
- Bryn Gatland (son of Waikato stalwart, and Wales & British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland)
- Jack Whetton (son of All Black Gary Whetton)
- Thomas and Peter Umaga Jensen (their uncle Tana coaches the Blues)
- Pari Pari Parkinson (his uncle Matua Parkinson was a Maori All Black)
New Zealand Rugby Head of Professional Rugby Chris Lendrum congratulated all 190 players officially confirmed by their respective clubs today.
“It is a real testament to our development programmes across the country that we have so many young players of real quality contracted for the new season,” he said.
“The Under 20 programme continues to be an important pathway for young players, and our Super Rugby clubs and Provincial Unions do an outstanding job in developing players also. There was some great talent on display during Mitre 10 Cup, making the selection job for coaches very difficult.
“Super Rugby continues to deliver world-class rugby viewing and all five New Zealand clubs are constantly innovating and working hard to ensure their teams are exciting, the games are entertaining, and the competition is thrilling.”
Newly contracted players will attend a two-day induction at New Zealand Rugby, before reporting for duty with their new clubs on 29 November.
New Zealand Super Rugby squads for 2019:
Forwards: Alex Hodgman, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Sione Mafileo, Ezekial Lindenmuth, Marcel Renata, Leni Apisai, Matt Moulds, James Parsons, Jimmy Tupou, Patrick Tuipulotu, Scott Scrafton, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Josh Goodhue, Jacob Pierce, Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papali’i, Blake Gibson, Jed Brown, Akira Ioane, Tom Robinson
Backs: Augustine Pulu, Jonathan Ruru, Sam Nock, Otere Black, Stephen Perofeta, Harry Plummer, Ma’a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams, TJ Faiane, Levi Aumua, Caleb Clarke, Rieko Ioane, Matt Duffie, Melani Nanai, Michael Collins, Jordan Trainor, Tanielu Tele’a
Forwards: Kane Hames, Aidan Ross, Reuben O’Neill, Nepo Laulala, Angus Ta’avao, Atu Moli, Sosefo Kautai, Nathan Harris, Liam Polwart, Brodie Retallick, Michael Allardice, Finn Hoeata, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Laghlan McWhannell, Sam Cane, Luke Jacobson, Mitchell Karpik, Teleni Seu, Mitchell Brown, Lachlan Boshier, Pita Gus Sowakula, Tyler Ardron
Backs: Brad Weber, Jonathan Taumateine, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Damian McKenzie, Tiaan Falcon, Marty McKenzie, Baylin Sullivan, Anton Lienert-Brown, Alex Nankivell, Ataata Moeakiola, Jack Debreczeni, Shaun Stevenson, Solomon Alaimalo, Sean Wainui, Tumua Manu, Etene Nanai-Seturo
Forwards: Joe Moody, Michael Alaalatoa, Harrison Allan, Oliver Jager, Owen Franks, Tim Perry, Codie Taylor, Ben Funnell, Andrew Makalio, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Quinten Strange, Mitchell Dunshea, Luke Romano, Billy Harmon, Tom Sanders, Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua, Ethan Blackadder, Whetu Douglas, Kieran Read
Backs: Mitchell Drummond, Bryn Hall, Ere Enari, Richie Mo’unga, Mitchell Hunt, Brett Cameron, Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Tim Bateman, Braydon Ennor, George Bridge, Manasa Mataele, Ngane Punavai, David Havili, Israel Dagg, Will Jordan, Leicester Faingaanuku
Forwards: Ayden Johnstone, Siate Tokolahi, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Josh Iosefa-Scott, Tyrel Lomax, Sef Fa’agase, Liam Coltman, Ash Dixon, Ray Niuia, Tom Franklin, Jackson Hemopo, Pari Pari Parkinson, Josh Dickson, Jack Whetton, James Lentjes, Marino Makaele Tu’u, Dillon Hunt, Shannon Frizell, Liam Squire, Elliot Dixon, Luke Whitelock
Backs: Aaron Smith, Kayne Hammington, Folau Fakatava, Bryn Gatland, Marty Banks, Josh Ioane, Rob Thompson, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Matt Faddes, Richard Buckman, Sio Tomkinson, Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo, Tevita Nabura, Tei Walden, Tevita Li, Josh McKay
Forwards: Ben May, Chris Eves, Jeffrey To’omaga-Allen, Toby Smith, Fraser Armstrong, Alex Fidow, Dane Coles, Ricky Riccitelli, Asafo Aumua, Sam Lousi, Geoff Cridge, Isaia Walker Leaware, James Blackwell, Liam Mitchell, Heiden Bedwell Curtis, Vaea Fifita, Ardie Savea, Sam Henwood, Reed Prinsep, Du Plessis Kirifi, Gareth Evans
Backs: TJ Perenara, Finlay Christie, Richard Judd, Beauden Barrett, Jackson Garden-Bachop, James Marshall, Jordie Barrett, Vince Aso, Ngani Laumape, Billy Proctor, Wes Goosen, Matt Proctor, Fletcher Smith, Ben Lam, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Jonah Lowe, Salesi Rayasi