42 new faces for ‘super’ Kiwis

New Zealand has picked 42 new players for next year’s Vodacom Super 14.

With All Blacks coach Graham Henry withdrawing 22 of his leading All Blacks for the first seven weeks of the competition, it has opened the way for many of this year’s domestic performers to make the five regional squads. Yet, there is no place for Jonah Lomu, who didn’t cut it on his return to provincial rugby.

The Hurricanes seem to have made significant benefits from the draft.

Brad Mika and Otago scrumhalf Chris Smylie are Hurricanes for 2007, while Auckland’s wing sensation David Smith has also been drafted to the Canes.

The champion Crusaders will feature 13 new faces from the side that won this year’s title.

The Blues and Crusaders kick off next year’s Super 14 competition when they play the opening match in Auckland on February 2. The final is on May 19.

2007 Super 14 squads:

* indicates new Super 14 player.
** indicates returning Super 14 player.
*** indicates draft player.

BLUES

Squad: John Afoa (Auckland), Ben Atiga (Auckland), Sam Biddles * *** (Waikato), Anthony Boric (North Harbour), Daniel Braid (Auckland), Justin Collins (Auckland), Steve Devine (Auckland), Troy Flavell (Auckland), David Gibson (Auckland), Chris Heard * (Auckland), David Holwell (Northland), Doug Howlett (Auckland), Jerome Kaino ** (Auckland), Luke McAlister (North Harbour), Angus Macdonald (Auckland), Keven Mealamu (Auckland), Isa Nacewa (Auckland), George Pisi (North Harbour), Greg Rawlinson (North Harbour), Josevata Rokocoko (Auckland), James Somerset * (Auckland), Saimone Taumoepeau (Auckland), Isaia Toeava (Auckland), Onosa’i Tololima-Auva’a * (Auckland), Anthony Tuitavake (North Harbour), Sam Tuitupou (Auckland), Nick White (Auckland), Ali Williams (Auckland), Nick Williams (North Harbour), Derren Witcombe ** (Auckland), Tony Woodcock (North Harbour), Rudi Wulf ** (North Harbour).

Gains: Young All Blacks utility Isaia Toeava stays in Auckland after being drafted to the Hurricanes last year. Sam Tuitupou returns from a season with the Chiefs. Experienced campaigner David Holwell gets a place as first five-eighths cover. Former All Blacks forwards Jerome Kaino and hooker Derren Witcombe are back after missing the last campaign with injuries. Harbour wing Rudi Wulf completes his remarkable comeback from a serious neck injury. New players include Auckland prop Chris Heard, flanker Onosa’i Tololima-Auva’a and wing James Somerset; and Waikato prop Sam Biddles.

Losses: Midfield back Rua Tipoki goes south to the Crusaders on transfer from North Harbour to Canterbury. Outside back Brent Ward is squeezed out and heads south to the Crusaders. Inconsistent flyhalf Tasesa Lavea misses the cut and is drafted to neighbours the Chiefs.

CHIEFS

Squad: Sosene Anesi (Waikato), Steven Bates (Waikato), Ben Castle (Bay of Plenty), Simms Davison (Bay of Plenty), Aled de Malmanche * (Waikato), Stephen Donald (Waikato), Jono Gibbes (Waikato), Marty Holah (Waikato), Richard Kahui * (Waikato), Byron Kelleher (Waikato), Roy Kinikinilau (Waikato), Tanerau Latimer (Bay of Plenty), Sione Lauaki (Waikato), Tasesa Lavea *** (Auckland), Brendon Leonard * (Waikato), Toby Lynn * (Waikato), Lelia Masaga (Counties Manukau), Liam Messam (Waikato), Malili Muliaina (Waikato), Jamie Nutbrown (Bay of Plenty), Kristian Ormsby (Counties Manukau), Keith Robinson ** (Waikato), Sitiveni Sivivatu (Waikato), Dwayne Sweeney * (Waikato), Niva Ta’auso (Counties Manukau), Anthony Tahana (Bay of Plenty), Tane Tu’ipulotu *** (Wellington), Craig West * (Waikato), Nathan White (Waikato), Murray Williams * (Bay of Plenty), Tom Willis (Waikato).

Gains: Roy Kinikinilau’s shift to Waikato sees him picked up by the Chiefs after being a Highlanders draft player. New faces to the scene are Waikato prop Craig West and fellow front-rower Aled de Malmanche, lock Toby Lynn, halfback Brendon Leonard, midfielder Richard Kahui and utility back Dwayne Sweeney; and Bay of Plenty first five-eighth Murray Williams. There will be high hopes for fit-again lock Keith Robinson. Tasesa Lavea comes in with the draft as cover at No 10 along with Wellington midfielder Tane Tu’ipulotu. Promising young flanker Tanerau Latimer is dragged back from the Crusaders.

Losses: Lock Bernie Upton shifts south to the Hurricanes after transferring from Bay of Plenty to Wellington. All Black David Hill has moved to English club Bristol while fellow backline utility Mark Ranby is now in Japan. Prop Deacon Manu has gone off to Ireland. Steamers flanker Nili Latu misses the cut and heads to the Hurricanes on the draft. In the loose forwards squeeze, Steamers flanker Nili Latu misses out but is snapped up by the Hurricanes.

HURRICANES

Squad: Luke Andrews (Wellington), Jerry Collins (Wellington), Jason Eaton (Taranaki), Tamati Ellison (Wellington), Lome Fa’atau (Wellington), Tim Fairbrother (Wellington), Hosea Gear (Wellington), Jimmy Gopperth (Wellington), Hayden Hopgood * *** (Canterbury), Andrew Hore (Taranaki), Cory Jane * (Wellington), Tone Kopelani *** (Canterbury), Nili Latu *** (Bay of Plenty), Serge Lilo * (Wellington), Chris Masoe (Wellington), Alby Mathewson * (Wellington), Bradley Mika *** (Auckland), Ma’a Nonu (Wellington), Shannon Paku (Wellington), Tony Penn ** (Taranaki), John Schwalger (Wellington), Mahonri Schwalger ** (Wellington), Conrad Smith (Wellington), David Smith * *** (Auckland), Chris Smylie *** (Otago), Rodney So’oialo (Wellington), Blair Stewart * *** (Southland), Neemia Tialata (Wellington), Paul Tito (Taranaki), Hayden Triggs * (Manawatu), Tana Umaga (Wellington), Bernie Upton (Wellington), Thomas Waldrom (Wellington), Piri Weepu (Wellington).

Gains: Talented hooker Tone Kopelani comes to the capital from Christchurch. Bay of Plenty flanker Nili Latu is drafted in as is versatile Auckland forward Brad Mika. And they pick up the services of Otago’s 2005 NPC player of the year, halfback Chris Smylie. Newcomers include Wellington flanker Serge Lilo, halfback Alby Mathewson and wing Cory Jane; Manawatu lock Hayden Triggs, sensational young Auckland wing David Smith, Canterbury flanker Hayden Hopgood and Southland first five-eighth Blair Stewart.

Losses: Valuable backline utility Isaia Toeava sticks with the Blues after being drafted south last year. Veteran first five-eighths David Holwell finally gets a Blues callup. Lions midfield back Tane Tu’ipulotu is drafted north to the Chiefs. Ross Kennedy’s demise continues with the experienced lock on the outer.

CRUSADERS

Tim Bateman * (Canterbury), Stephen Brett * (Canterbury), Daniel Carter (Canterbury), Wyatt Crockett (Canterbury), Andy Ellis (Canterbury), Ross Filipo *** (Wellington), Corey Flynn (Canterbury), Ben Franks (Canterbury), Rico Gear (Tasman), Scott Hamilton (Canterbury), Chris Jack (Tasman), Campbell Johnstone (Canterbury), Casey Laulala (Canterbury), Johnny Leo’o (Canterbury), Richie McCaw (Canterbury), Leon MacDonald (Canterbury), Aaron Mauger (Canterbury), Ben May * (Tasman), Peter Nixon * (Canterbury), Kevin O’Neill (Canterbury), Jake Paringatai * *** (Northland), Michael Paterson * (Canterbury), Ti’i Paulo * (Canterbury), Tusi Pisi * *** (North Harbour), Jonathon Poff * (Tasman), Caleb Ralph (Canterbury), Kieran Read * (Canterbury), Isaac Ross * (Canterbury), Kevin Senio (Canterbury), Greg Somerville (Canterbury), Reuben Thorne (Canterbury), Rua Tipoki (Canterbury), Mose Tuiali’i (Canterbury), Brent Ward *** (Auckland), Paul Williams (Canterbury).

Gains: Rua Tipoki comes in from the Blues as midfield cover. North Harbour first five-eighth Tusi Pisi come to cover first five alongside Stephen Brett. The other newcomers are Canterbury loose forwards Kieran Read and Peter Nixon, hooker Ti’i Paulo, locks Michael Paterson and Isaac Ross, midfielder Tim Bateman; Tasman prop Ben May and his flanker teammate Jonathon Poff; Northland loose forward Jake Paringatai.

Losses: Valuable hooking backup Tone Kopelani has shifted north to the Hurricanes. Auckland lock-loose forward Brad Mika also goes to the Hurricanes after being a Crusaders draftee in 2006.

HIGHLANDERS

Squad: Aaron Bancroft * (Otago), Josh Blackie (Otago), Callum Bruce (Otago), Keith Cameron * (Otago), Craig Clare * (Otago), Jimmy Cowan (Southland), Clarke Dermody (Southland), Nick Evans (Otago), David Hall * (Southland), Carl Hayman (Otago), Charlie Hore * (Otago), Glen Horton ** (Otago), Jason Kawau * (Southland), Chris King (Otago), Filipo Levi (Otago), Jason Macdonald (Otago), Hoani MacDonald (Southland), Jamie Mackintosh * (Southland), Toby Morland * (Otago), Lucky Mulipola * *** (Tasman), Craig Newby (Otago), Anton Oliver (Otago), James Ryan (Otago), Matt Saunders (Otago), Alando Soakai * (Otago), Ezra Taylor * (Otago), Kane Thompson * (Southland), Hale T-Pole (Southland), Viliame Waqaseduadua *** (North Harbour), Greg Zampach * (Otago).

Gains: North Harbour try-scoring machine Vili Waqaseduadua is the pick of their draft imports. Other new faces include Tasman winger Lucky Mulipola, Otago prop Keith Cameron, loose forwards Alando Soakai and Ezra Taylor, halfback Toby Morland, fullback Craig Clare, first five-eighth Charlie Hore, midfielder Aaron Bancroft and winger Greg Zampach; Southland hooker David Hall, prop Jamie Mackintosh, lock Kane Thompson and midfielder Jason Kawau.

Losses: Backline lynchpin Neil Brew has joined Bristol and fellow midfielder Seilala Mapusua has also gone to Britain. Wing Roy Kinikinilau has been lost to the Chiefs after his move to Waikato. Otago halfback Chris Smylie is released to the draft and snapped up by the Hurricanes.

The number of players from each province is as follows: Northland (2), North Harbour (10), Auckland (26), Counties Manukau (3), Waikato (21), Bay of Plenty (7), Taranaki (4), Manawatu (1), Wellington (24), Tasman (5), Canterbury (29), Otago (21) and Southland (9).