New Zealand's squads for the 2008 Super 14 have been announced.
The announcement of the 28-strong squads follows a selection meeting attended by the coaching staff of the five New Zealand Franchises at the NZRU offices in Wellington on Tuesday.
The key points from the squad announcements are:
28 players have been selected in a Super 14 squad for the first time.
17 players have been drafted to other Franchises.
Eight players are returning to Super 14 rugby after missing initial selection last year.
Eleven players transferred to new provinces ahead of the selection meeting.VIDEO - Full ONE News interview with Blues coach David Nucifora VIDEO - Interview with new Crusaders number 8 Nasi Manu VIDEO - Full press conference with Chiefs coach Ian Foster
The transferring players were:
Daniel Bowden (from Northland to Otago), Nick Evans (Otago to Auckland), Chris King (Otago to Southland), Tasesa Lavea (Auckland to Counties Manukau), Lucky Mulipola (Tasman to Otago), Kevin O'Neill (Canterbury to Waikato), William Ripia (Waikato to Taranaki), Steven Setephano (Waikato to Otago), Chris Smylie (Otago to North Harbour), George Whitelock (Otago to Canterbury) and Ali Williams (Auckland to Tasman).
The 28 players named in a Super 14 squad for the first time are as follows:
Blues: Hawke's Bay lock Bryn Evans, Auckland midfielder Jamie Helleur, Auckland hooker Tom McCartney, Auckland halfback Taniela Moa, Northland prop Bronson Murray and Auckland utility back Benson Stanley.
Chiefs: Wellington loose forward Faifili Levave.
Hurricanes: Hawke's Bay hooker Hikawera Elliott, Wellington prop Jacob Ellison, Hawke's Bay wing Zac Guildford, Hawke's Bay loose forward Michael Johnson, Taranaki first five-eighth William Ripia and Wellington lock Jeremy Thrush.
Crusaders: Tasman halfback Kahn Fotuali'i, Canterbury five-eighth Hamish Gard, Canterbury wing Sean Maitland, Canterbury No 8 Nasi Manu, Tasman wing Kade Poki and Canterbury loose forward George Whitelock.
Highlanders: Otago first five-eighth Daniel Bowden, Bay of Plenty first five-eighth Mike Delany, Manawatu midfielder Johnny Leota, Otago midfielder Brett Mather, Hawke's Bay prop Clint Newland, Otago loose forward Steven Setephano, Otago loose forward Adam Thomson, Northland wing Fetu'u Vainikolo and Southland fullback James Wilson.
The eight players returning to Super 14 rugby squads
Southland loose forward Tim Boys (Highlanders), Taranaki lock Craig Clarke (Hurricanes), Otago lock Tom Donnelly (Highlanders), Auckland lock Kurtis Haiu (Blues), Wellington loose forward Tom Harding (Chiefs), Hawke's Bay halfback Danny Lee (Blues), former Crusaders lock Brad Thorn (Crusaders) and Taranaki loose forward Scott Waldrom (Hurricanes).
Three 2007 Super 14 players were not considered for selection for 2008 due to injury and long-term rehabilitation - Wellington's Serge Lilo, Tasman's Peter Nixon and Waikato's Nathan White. Otago's James Ryan was also unavailable for selection after it was agreed that he should have an extended break from rugby following rehabilitation of his current injury.
NZRU Professional Rugby Manager Neil Sorensen congratulated the 140 players selected, especially the new players.
"The squads show that there is a real depth in New Zealand rugby, with the Air New Zealand Cup again unveiling some new talent, and it's great to see that the four new teams in the Air New Zealand Cup have contributed 17 players to the squads. Hawke's Bay's fantastic season has been rewarded with six players selected in squads.
"It's an exciting time for all the new players and this is the next step in their development as a professional rugby player. I'm sure the players and the fans will be looking forward to the start of the competition after the summer break."
The Crusaders kick off next year's Super 14 competition when
they host the Brumbies in the opening match at AMI Stadium,
Christchurch, on Friday 15 February. The final is on Saturday 31
The 2008 Super 14 squads are as follows:
John Afoa (Auckland), Ben Atiga (Auckland), Anthony Boric (North Harbour), Daniel Braid (Auckland), Justin Collins (Northland), Bryn Evans (Hawke's Bay), Nick Evans (Auckland), Troy Flavell (Auckland), Jamie Helleur (Auckland), Kurtis Haiu (Auckland), Jerome Kaino (Auckland), Tom McCartney (Auckland), Danny Lee (Hawke's Bay), Keven Mealamu (Auckland), Taniela Moa ý (Auckland), Bronson Murray (Northland), Isa Nacewa (Auckland), George Pisi (North Harbour), Josevata Rokocoko (Auckland), David Smith (Auckland), Benson Stanley (Auckland), Isaia Toeava (Auckland), Onosa'i Tololima-Auva'a (Auckland), Anthony Tuitavake (North Harbour), Nick White (Auckland), Nick Williams (North Harbour), Tony Woodcock (North Harbour), Rudi Wulf (North Harbour).
Sosene Anesi (Waikato), Callum Bruce (Otago), Ben Castle (Bay of Plenty), Simms Davison (Bay of Plenty), Aled de Malmanche (Waikato), Stephen Donald (Waikato), Jono Gibbes (Waikato), Tom Harding (Wellington), Hayden Hopgood (Canterbury), Richard Kahui (Waikato), Tanerau Latimer (Bay of Plenty), Sione Lauaki (Waikato), Tasesa Lavea (Counties Manukau), Faifili Levave (Wellington), Brendon Leonard (Waikato), Toby Lynn (Waikato), Lelia Masaga (Counties Manukau), Ben May (Tasman), Liam Messam (Waikato), Malili Muliaina (Waikato), Jamie Nutbrown (Bay of Plenty), Kevin O'Neill (Waikato), Kristian Ormsby (Counties Manukau), Sitiveni Sivivatu (Waikato), Dwayne Sweeney (Waikato), Viliame Waqaseduadua (North Harbour), Craig West (Waikato), Tom Willis (Waikato).
Craig Clarke (Taranaki), Jerry Collins (Wellington), Jason Eaton (Taranaki), Hikawera Elliott (Hawke's Bay), Jacob Ellison (Wellington), Tamati Ellison (Wellington), Tim Fairbrother (Wellington), Hosea Gear (Wellington), Jimmy Gopperth (Wellington), Zac Guildford (Hawke's Bay), Andrew Hore (Taranaki), Cory Jane (Wellington), Michael Johnson (Hawke's Bay), Chris Masoe (Wellington), Alby Mathewson (Wellington), Ma'a Nonu (Wellington), Shannon Paku (Wellington), Willie Ripia (Taranaki), John Schwalger (Wellington), Conrad Smith (Wellington), Rodney So'oialo (Wellington), Jeremy Thrush (Wellington), Neemia Tialata (Wellington), Tane Tu'ipulotu (Wellington), Bernie Upton (Wellington), Scott Waldrom (Taranaki), Thomas Waldrom (Wellington), Piri Weepu (Wellington).
Tim Bateman (Canterbury), Stephen Brett (Canterbury), Daniel Carter (Canterbury), Wyatt Crockett (Canterbury), Andy Ellis (Canterbury), Ross Filipo (Wellington), Corey Flynn (Canterbury), Kahn Fotuali'i (Tasman), Ben Franks (Canterbury), Hamish Gard (Canterbury), Scott Hamilton (Canterbury), Campbell Johnstone (Canterbury), Casey Laulala (Canterbury), Richie McCaw (Canterbury), Leon MacDonald (Canterbury), Sean Maitland (Canterbury), Nasi Manu (Canterbury), Michael Paterson (Canterbury), Ti'i Paulo (Canterbury), Kade Poki (Tasman), Caleb Ralph (Tasman), Kieran Read (Canterbury), Greg Somerville (Canterbury), Brad Thorn (Tasman), Reuben Thorne (Canterbury), Mose Tuiali'i (Canterbury), George Whitelock (Canterbury), Ali Williams (Tasman).
Aaron Bancroft (Otago), Daniel Bowden (Otago), Tim Boys (Southland), Keith Cameron (Otago), Jimmy Cowan (Southland), Mike Delany (Bay of Plenty), Tom Donnelly (Otago), David Hall (Southland), Chris King (Southland), Johnny Leota (Manawatu), Jason Macdonald (Otago), Hoani MacDonald (Southland), Jamie Mackintosh (Southland), Brett Mather ý (Otago), Toby Morland (Otago), Lucky Mulipola (Otago), Craig Newby (Otago), Clint Newland (Hawke's Bay), Isaac Ross (Canterbury), Steven Setephano (Otago), Alando Soakai (Otago), Niva Ta'auso (Counties Manukau), Ezra Taylor (Otago), Adam Thomson (Otago), Hayden Triggs (Manawatu), Fetu'u Vainikolo (Northland), Paul Williams (Canterbury), James Wilson (Southland).
The number of players from each province is as follows:
Auckland (18), Bay of Plenty (5), Canterbury (25), Counties Manukau (4), Hawke's Bay (6), Manawatu (2), North Harbour (7), Northland (3), Otago (14), Southland (7), Taranaki (5), Tasman (6), Waikato (15) and Wellington (23).