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2870 Topic: NZ teams announce squads for 2013 Super Rugby
Sharkbok

Status: Senior player
Posts: 2936
NZ teams announce squads for 2013 Super Rugby
October 31, 2012, 06:44:26

 

NZ teams announce squads for 2013 Super Rugby



 

Reigning champion Waikato has included seven newcomers in the Chiefs squad for next season's Super Rugby tournament. Judging by the squads announced on Wednesday by each of the New Zealand clubs, the Chiefs could face their biggest test in the first round after the Otago Highlanders 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, centre 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 Auckland 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 centre.

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 centre 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 Auckland 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 Queensland Reds flanker Daniel Braid has missed selection.


Sharkbok

Status: Senior player
Posts: 2936
RE: NZ teams announce squads for 2013 Super Rugby
October 31, 2012, 06:49:40

 Looking organised and prepared.....

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The Sharks and Stormers are looking good. The Cheetas could do well.

The Bulls are major rebuilding big time.

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And then the Southern Kings..... Sarfu has been pathetic. Only informing them recently, and then also saying that their is a playoff in one year and still low capping the amount of international players(unlike rebels) etc.

If they are going to let the Kings play, it should be at least 3 years. To help with the planning and contracting of players etc, management, coaching etc. 

It is unfair to the fans of the Southern Kings they are going to take a serious hiding in their first year, and potentially be relegated after one year of being killed. The team will probably have the most injuries with players never having played at this level before,

 


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 10276
RE: NZ teams announce squads for 2013 Super Rugby
October 31, 2012, 09:10:47

Sharkbok

It would be interesting to see how the Blues - with a youngish team - performs in Super 15 next year.   The team with the oldest players would be the Highlanders - big names - but I believe some players are way past their sell-by dates.     Would also see whether the tendency to play over 33 year-olds really pays off.   

As to the Kings - if they pick up even 1 bonus point I really will be surprised.   The Cheetahs will not disappoint and could be fairly high on the log.   The Bulls may yet surprised us and get to above 10th position on the log.   Problem is they are playing badly - with probably he most useless prop combination and some real dodos up front and the worst half back combination imaginable.   There centers also look problematic.   However, they my have to see whether their contracting program is really working.

The two SA teams to be top contenders will probably be the Sharks and the Stormers - provided that by luck - the Syormers play better combinations at center and the flyhalf issue is addressed early in the competition - still doubt whether Jantjies will add any value- allowing them to score more tries.

The main problem the Sharks have will be their line-outs - but I think Du Toit will make a huge difference in that department.         


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