Super Rugby squad namings: What we learned
Analysis – And, we’re back… sort of. The last rugby season officially ended on Saturday night when full-time blew in the Black Ferns’ loss to England, but yesterday saw the first action of next season when the Super Rugby Pacific squad was officially announced.
That fact alone is up for debate, but since the six New Zealand teams were thoughtful enough to rattle off the names all day, it’s worth talking about who will be playing where in 2024. .Or, actually, while not .
Because that is the big story out of the Crusaders. Codie Taylor takes a break, not to go abroad to earn money but to mow the lawns and spend time with his family. That’s fair enough, Taylor worked like a mule at the All Blacks, but he’s certainly not alone in players watching the action on TV.
Richie Mo’unga and Samuel Whitelock have moved on, Jack Goodhue and Braydon Ennor are injured, but the most interesting is Oli Jager smoking bombing at the last minute and rumored to be moving back to Ireland to play in Province of Munster. It’s a shame because Jager was in the picture for the All Blacks and it puts a new spin on the Irish taking their pick of fringe Super Rugby players. Yes if you missed it, the Crusaders have a new coach too, so they won’t be dancing anymore.
The Chiefs have been purged from their leadership group, with Brad Weber, Sam Cane and Brodie Retallick sidelined. However, Clayton McMillan’s side feel they can turn the roster around well considering they are a work in progress at least a year in advance.
One player who hasn’t been talked about much in that trio of All Blacks is Bryn Gatland, who offered some depth in Super Rugby at 10. Yes, the Chiefs have Josh Ioane to back up Damian McKenzie but he is not quite the solid game manager that Gatland offered.
Although the Hurricanes have farewell to Dane Coles and will see you later Ardie Savea, the spotlight will not be on their replacements as we already know about Asafo Aumua and Peter Lakai. Clark Laidlaw enters the training booth in his first ever first-class side’s fifteen-cap gig, taking over from Jason Holland. Then there is how he fits the former skipper TJ Perenara and the red-hot Cam Roigard into the same team, so the Canes will be an interesting situation next season.
Another team to get a new coach are the Blues, but Vern Cotter has set up a good side. Yes, Beauden Barrett is gone and that leaves a bit of a hole in experience in terms of game drivers, but this is really Stephen Perofeta’s ship now. Add in a strengthened starting pack with the return of Angus Ta’avao and the Blues are in as good a position to win the league as Leon MacDonald finally got a humming after years of cursing.
You have to feel for the Irish, though. As if things weren’t tough enough, they have now lost Aaron Smith, Shannon Frizell, Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Mitch Hunt and Josh Dickson. Clarke Dermody has picked up Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens and Timoci Tavatavanawai, but the big question is how much ball they will get. The forward pack is under pressure, Folau Fakatava is now heavily reliant on a game plan likely to revolve around him, and Billy Harmon will need to play out of his skin like he did last year if they are to have any shot at creating some. confused.
That’s because the only game the Highlanders won’t be going to is against Moana Pasifika, who are the hardest team to beat. And that’s why they’ve overhauled the whole team, as well as the coaching staff, and they’re still looking for venues to play in. Twenty new players have been signed, Tana Umaga has joined as coach and brought Tom Coventry with him. and Brit Stephen Jones as well, so it really feels like the whole project has hit the reset button to start over.
So good luck to everyone who will be starting pre-season training in the coming weeks, it feels like it won’t be long before we’ll be making more solid predictions on how the Super Rugby Pacific 2024 season will go.
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