While the vast majority of the squads’ make-up was already known, the five Kiwi franchises on Wednesday confirmed just who were filling the remaining spots in their 38-man contracted lists for next season (Moana Pasifika’s squad will be unveiled at a later date).
Here’s The Daily Rugby guide to the 190 names who will be preparing for the season’s start on February 24, and how the teams shape up for their tilt at the title.
The Blues boast the most settled squad of any of the Kiwi sides, as they go about their redemption mission.
Following a standout 2022 campaign, which ended in disappointment at the final hurdle, on home soil, Leon MacDonald has very limited disruption to his ranks as he sets his side’s sights on going one further in 2023.
All Blacks prop Karl Tu’inukuafe has headed to France, but Ofa Tuungafasi’s ability to cover loosehead is valuable, and outside of that it’s really only veteran lock Luke Romano’s retirement which would impact them, however that’s immediately offset by the return of Patrick Tuipulotu from Japan.
With prop Josh Fusitu’a having already debuted this year, there are just two other new names to the squad – All Blacks Sevens rep Caleb Tangitau, and Northland loose forward Rob Rush, the son of former sevens legend Eric Rush.
If Mark Telea ends up making his test debut on the northern tour, the Blues could run out an all-All Blacks backline next year, with some already well-established, dangerous combinations.
The ACT Brumbies have confirmed their 36 man squad for the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific, with 27 of the group returning from last season.
Flyhalf Jack Debreczeni, centre Tamati Tua and outside-back Ben O’Donnell are the three new faces to Stephen Larkham’s squad, with six Brumbies pathways products being promoted into the club’s senior squad.
23 players total have graduated through the Brumbies pathways program, with Tom Wright, Andy Muirhead, Ollie Sapsford and Ed Kennedy also having made their Super Rugby debuts in ACT colours.
The group includes 17 capped Wallabies, two Australian captains in James Slipper and incumbent ACT skipper and reigning Brett Robinson Player’s Player of the year Allan Alaalatoa, as well as two Australian Sevens internationals Corey Toole and Ben O’Donnell.
Of the 17 Wallabies in the group, only Slipper and centre Chris Feauai-Sautia joined the Brumbies having already represented Australia at senior level, with Wright and lock Cadeyrn Neville the two players to have not come through the Brumbies pathways program.
A further four players represented Australia A this year, with ACT local Ryan Lonergan also captaining the side from halfback
ACT Brumbies head coach, Stephen Larkham said: “We’re really pleased with the makeup of the squad and it’s great to have the majority of the group returning including the six pathways boys who all trained full-time last season.”
“When you look at the squad, there’s genuine competition for places and depth in key positions, so everyone will need to earn selection week to week which is what you need to be successful.
“We want this group to belong to our ACT community, we want to make heroes out of these players and I think with the broad range of backgrounds, the journeys these players have been on to be at our club, it’s a squad that we believe the capital region will get behind.”