Super Rugby Aotearoa squads named: Four rookies in Crusaders line-up

Tamaiti Williams has made the Crusaders side. Photo: Getty Images
Tamaiti Williams has made the Crusaders side. Photo: Getty Images
The five New Zealand squads have been confirmed for next year's Super Rugby Aotearoa competition.

The 26 'rookies' across the five New Zealand squads, defined as those players who have signed their first full-time Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa contracts, is well down on the 46 new faces named in the 2020 squads.

The official rookies' class of 2020 is:

Crusaders (4): Tamaiti Williams, Fletcher Newell, Chay Fihaki, Isaiah Punivai (Canterbury)

Highlanders (3): Sam Gilbert (Otago), Jermaine Ainsley**, Kazuki Himeno**

Chiefs (7): Ollie Norris, Simon Parker, Xavier Roe, Rivez Reihana (Waikato), Tupou Vaa'i, Josh Lord, Kaylum Boshier (Taranaki)

Hurricanes (5): Tevita Mafileo, Luke Campbell (Bay of Plenty), Ruben Love, Pepesana Patafilo (Wellington), Brayden Iose (Manawatu)

Blues (7): Soane Vikena, AJ Lam, James Lay, Zarn Sullivan (Auckland), Sam Darry (Canterbury), Taine Plumtree (Wellington), Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens (Taranaki)

The rookie class of 2021 includes the youngest player, Auckland hooker Soane Vikena, who joins the Blues at 19-years, 5 months and one day old, more than 17 years younger than the oldest contracted player - two-Test All Black lock and newly minted Highlander Bryn Evans.

Vikena is one of 12 rookies to have come through the New Zealand Under 20s programme.

Evans (Hawke's Bay), who has previously played for the Blue and Hurricanes, returns to Sky Super Rugby for the first time since 2009.

Otago prop Josh Hohneck (Highlanders), and Hawke's Bay wing Lolagi Visinia (Hurricanes), also return to Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa after lengthy absences overseas.

The off-season transfer market was relatively quiet, but included some notable moves including:

First-five Bryn Gatland - to the Chiefs from the Highlanders

Outside back Solomon Alaimalo - to the Highlanders from the Chiefs

Prop Sione Mafileo - to the Chiefs from the Blues

Loose forward Billy Harmon - to the Highlanders from the Crusaders

Utility back Fetuli Paea - to the Highlanders from the Crusaders

Utility back Chase Tiatia - to the Chiefs from the Hurricanes

Utility back Jonah Lowe - to the Chiefs from the Hurricanes

Prop Nepo Laulala - to the Blues from the Chiefs

Loose forward Dillon Hunt - to the Blues from the Highlanders

A full list of the 2020 Sky Super Rugby squads is below:

Crusaders:

Props: Joe Moody, Ollie Jager, Isi Tuungafasi, George Bower, Michael Alaalatoa, Tamaiti Williams, Fletcher Newell

Hookers: Codie Taylor, Brodie McAlister, Andrew Makalio,

Locks: Scott Barrett, Quentin Strange, Mitchell Dunshea, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano

Loose forwards: Cullen Grace, Tom Sanders, Ethan Blackadder, Sione Havili, Whetu Douglas, Tom Christie

Halfbacks: Mitch Drummond, Ere Enari, Bryn Hall,

Inside backs: Richie Mo'unga, Brett Cameron

Midfield: Jack Goodhue, Fergus Burke, Braydon Ennor, Dallas McLeod,

Outside backs: Chay Fihaki, George Bridge, Manasa Mataele, Sevu Reece, David Havili, Will Jordan, Leicester Faingaanuku, Isaiah Punivai

Blues:

Hookers: Ray Niuia, James Parsons, Soane Vikena

Props: Alex Hodgman, Nepo Laulala, James Lay, Marcel Renata, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Ofa Tuungafasi

Locks: Gerard Cowley-Tuioti , Sam Darry, Josh Goodhue, Jacob Pierce, Patrick Tuipulotu

Loose forwards: Blake Gibson, Dillon Hunt, Akira Ioane, Dalton Papalii, Taine Plumtree, Tom Robinson, Hoskins Sotutu

Halfbacks: Finlay Christie, Sam Nock, Jonathan Ruru

Inside backs: Otere Black, Stephen Perofeta, Harry Plummer

Midfield: TJ Faiane, Rieko Ioane, Tanielu Tele'a

Outside backs: Caleb Clarke, AJ Lam, Jone Macilai-Tori, Emoni Narawa, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Zarn Sullivan, Mark Telea

Chiefs:

Hookers: Nathan Harris, Bradley Slater, Samisoni Taukei'aho

Props: Sione Mafileo, Atunaisa Moli, Ollie Norris, Reuben O'Neill, Aidan Ross, Angus Ta'avao

Locks: Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Josh Lord, Laghlan McWhannell, Tupou Vaa'i

Loose forwards: Kaylum Boshier, Lachlan Boshier, Mitchell Brown, Sam Cane, Pita Gus Sowakula, Luke Jacobson, Mitchell Karpik, Simon Parker

Halfbacks: Xavier Roe, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Brad Weber

Inside backs: Bryn Gatland, Rivez Reihana, Kaleb Trask

Midfielders: Anton Lienert-Brown, Alex Nankivell, Bailyn Sullivan, Quinn Tupaea

Outside backs: Jonah Lowe, Damian McKenzie, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Shaun Stevenson, Chase Tiatia, Sean Wainui

Hurricanes:

Props: Pouri Rakete-Stones, Alex Fidow, Xavier Numia, Tyrel Lomax, Fraser Armstrong, Tevita Mafileo

Hookers: Ricky Riccitelli, Asafo Aumua, Dane Coles,

Locks: Liam Mitchell, James Blackwell, Scott Scrafton, Kane Leaupepe, Isaia Walker Leaware

Loose forwards: Du Plessis Kirifi, Reed Prinsep, Gareth Evans, Ardie Savea, Devan Flanders, Vaea Fifita, Brayden Iose

Halfbacks: Jamie Booth, Jonathan Taumateine, Luke Campbell

Inside backs: Jackson Garden Bachop, Simon Hickey

Midfield: Ngani Laumape, Billy Proctor, Vince Aso, Julian Savea

Outside backs: Salesi Rayasi, Wes Goosen, Jordie Barrett, Danny Toala, Peter Umaga Jensen, Lolagi Visinia, Ruben Love, Pepesana Patafilo

Highlanders:

Props: Ayden Johnstone, Siate Tokolahi, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Jeff Thwaites, Ethan de Groot, Jermaine Ainsley, Josh Hohneck

Hookers: Ricky Jackson, Ash Dixon, Liam Coltman

Locks: Pari Pari Parkinson, Josh Dickson, Maanaki Selby-Rickit, Bryn Evans

Loose forwards: Billy Harmon, James Lentjes, Shannon Frizell, Marino Mikaele Tu'u, Sione Misiloi, Teariki Ben-Nicholas, Liam Squire

Halfbacks: Kazuki Himeno, Aaron Smith, Kayne Hammington, Folau Fakatava

Inside backs: Josh Ioane, Mitchell Hunt

Midfield: Fetuli Paea, Sio Tomkinson, Thomas Umaga Jensen, Ngane Punivai

Outside backs: Nehe Milner Skudder, Connor Garden Bachop, Scott Gregory, Jona Nareki, Solomon Alaimalo, Michael Collins, Sam Gilbert, Vilimoni Koroi

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