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Thread: Super Rugby 2018 transfers: Who won the off-season ins and outs?

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    Super Rugby 2018 transfers: Who won the off-season ins and outs?

    Sam Worthington | News Corp Australia
    February 8, 2018 2:03PM

    THE 2018 Super Rugby season kicks off on February 18 AEDT, with the Stormers hosting the Jaguares, before the Australian and New Zealand teams get underway from February 23.
    As per usual, the transfer market has been in overdrive in the off-season, with another massive cluster of players leaving for northern hemisphere riches.
    The demise of the Force has added another layer of complexity to proceedings as Australia’s remaining four franchises look to fill out their squads.
    We’ve taken a look at the ins and outs from all 15 clubs, and hand out our verdicts on what it all means as the Australian sides look to break the recent run of NZ dominance.
    First, the Aussie teams.

    AUSTRALIA

    BRUMBIES
    IN: Mees Erasmus (Perth Spirit), Folau Fainga’a (NSW Country Eagles), Richie Arnold (Force), Darcy Swain (Canberra Vikings), Lachlan McCaffrey (Leicester Tigers), David Pocock (return from sabbatical), Isi Naisarani (Force), Matt Lucas (Waratahs), Chance Peni (Force), Mack Hansen (Canberra Vikings), James Verity-Amm (Force)
    OUT: Saia Fainga’a (London Irish), Tom Staniforth (Waratahs), Chris Alcock (Kamaishi Seawaves), Scott Fardy (Leinster), Jordan Smiler (Suntory Sungoliath), Jarrad Butler (Connacht), Tomas Cubelli (Jaguares), De Wet Roos (Southern Districts), Nick Jooste (Perth Spirit), Anthony Fainga’a (Kintetsu Liners), Nigel Ah Wong (Counties Manukau), Aidan Toua (Reds)
    VERDICT: B
    David Pocock’s return is a massive boost but he will miss the start of the season as he recovers from knee surgery.
    The Rebels got the cream of the Force crop but new coach Dan McKellar also made some savvy pick-ups in loose forward Isi Naisarani and outside backs Chance Peni and James Verity-Amm.
    Naisarani is a beast who will play for the Wallabies as soon as he becomes eligible while Peni and Verity-Amm provide much needed pace as McKellar attempts to spice up his team’s previously bland attack.
    Waratahs recruit Lucas will also provide Joe Powell with real competition at halfback while the explosive Fainga’a may well be the starting hooker ahead of veterans Josh Mann-Rea and Robbie Abel come the business end of the season.
    On the other side of the ledger, the sparky Tomas Cubelli will be missed, while the departures of Scott Fardy, Chris Alcock, Jordan Smiler and Jarrad Butler robs the back-row of considerable experience.

    REBELS
    IN: Jermaine Ainsley (Force), Ben Daley (Force), Tetera Faulkner (Force), Sam Talakai (Reds), Anaru Rangi (Force), Adam Coleman (Force), Trevor Hosea (Melbourne Rising), Geoff Parling (Exeter Chiefs), Matt Philip (Force), Richard Hardwick (Force), Ross Haylett-Petty (Force), Will Genia (Stade Francais), Michael Ruru (Force), Tayler Adams (NSW Country Eagles), David Horwitz (Waratahs), Billy Meakes (Force), Hunter Paisami (Melbourne Rising), Henry Hutchison (Australia sevens), Dane Haylett-Petty (Force)
    OUT: Cruze Ah-Nau (Zebre), Tyrel Lomax (Highlanders), Toby Smith (Hurricanes), James Hanson (Gloucester), Patrick Leafa (Vannes), Siliva Siliva (Melbourne Rising), Steve Cummins (Scarlets), Dominic Day (Saracens), Murray Douglas (Hurricanes), Culum Retallick (Bay of Plenty), Harley Fox (Connacht), Sean McMahon (Suntory Sungoliath), Will Miller (Waratahs), Hugh Sinclair (Sydney Rays), Ben Meehan (London Irish), Michael Snowden (released), Jackson Garden-Bachop (Hurricanes), Ben Volavola (North Harbour), Mitch Inman (Oyonnax), Jonah Placid (Toulon)
    VERDICT: A
    It hurts for Force fans, but the off-season couldn’t have gone much better for Rebels boss Baden Stephenson, who lured coach Dave Wessels across the Nullarbor along with most of the club’s best players.
    Locks Adam Coleman and Matt Philip, fullback/winger Dane Haylett-Petty, centre Billy Meakes, loose forwards Richard Hardwick and Ross Haylett-Petty, halfback Michael Ruru and props Jermaine Ainsley and Tetera Faulkner completely change the complexion of last season’s wooden spooners, not to mention the recruitment of Wallabies star Will Genia and former England second-rower Geoff Parling.
    It is basically a completely new team and it may take a while to gel but this crew is a real shot to top the Australian conference.
    The biggest loss is Sean McMahon but Amanaki Mafi will still spearhead a more than capable back-row.

    REDS
    IN: Harry Hoopert (Brothers), JP Smith (Toyota Verblitz), Brandon Paenga-Amosa (NSW Country Eagles), Angus Blyth (Bond University), Harry Hockings (University of Queensland), Angus Scott-Young (Queensland Country), Liam Wright (Queensland Country), Tate McDermott (Queensland Country), Jono Lance (Force), Ben Lucas (Toyota Verblitz), Filipo Daugunu (Queensland Country), Aidan Toua (Brumbies)
    OUT: Sam Talakai (Rebels), Stephen Moore (retired), Cadeyrn Neville (Toyota Industries Shuttles), Rob Simmons (Waratahs), Leroy Houston (Bordeaux), Hendrik Tui (Suntory Sungoliath), Nick Frisby (loan, Bordeaux), Quade Cooper (unwanted), Jake McIntyre (Agen), Campbell Magnay (Suntory Sungoliath), Henry Taefu (Colomiers), Chris Kuridrani (Brisbane City), Jayden Ngamanu (Brisbane City)
    VERDICT: C
    Talk about a turbulent off-season for new Reds coach Brad Thorn, who has frozen out senior halves Quade Cooper and Nick Frisby and watched two of his supposed leaders, George Smith and Karmichael Hunt, have run-ins with the men in blue.
    Thorn has placed his faith in Queensland’s up and coming talent, in particular drawing upon the Country squad that he transformed from NRC wooden spooners to champions in one season.
    Veterans Jono Lance, Ben Lucas and Aidan Toua will provide backline game management in the absence of Cooper and Hunt with Thorn likely to favour a more conservative, defence first game plan.
    Liam Wright, Filipo Daugunu and Harry Hockings are exciting young prospects but this looks like the start of a long-term rebuilding plan, rather than any sort of quick fix.

    WARATAHS
    IN: Harry Johnson-Holmes (NSW Country Eagles), Shambeckler Vui (Force), Cody Walker (Sydney Rays), JP Sauni (Auckland), Nick Palmer (Hawke’s Bay), Rob Simmons (Reds), Tom Staniforth (Brumbies), Lachlan Swinton (NSW Country Eagles), Kelly Meafua (Greater Sydney Rams), Will Miller (Rebels), Kurtley Beale (Wasps), Lalakai Foketi (Bay of Plenty), Alex Newsome (Force), Curtis Rona (Force)
    OUT: Dean Mumm (retired), Will Skelton (Saracens), Matt Lucas (Brumbies), Andrew Deegan (Connacht), Rob Horne (Northampton Saints), David Horwitz (Rebels), Reece Robinson (Sydney Roosters), Harry Jones (Toyota Industries Shuttles)
    VERDICT: B
    A solid off-season from Waratahs chief executive Andrew Hore and coach Daryl Gibson.
    It is hard to overstate the significance of Kurtley Beale’s return while former Force duo Curtis Rona and Alex Newsome will provide finishing firepower out wide.
    Shambeckler Vui, JP Sauni and Nick Palmer are all bright prospects while lock Tom Staniforth and openside Will Miller will push hard for regular gametime.
    Rob Simmons’ arrival makes sense after Dean Mumm and Will Skelton moved on but one of the most important recruits may be new assistant coach Simon Cron.
    “He’s been fantastic, he’s an absolute Energizer bunny and he’s a big rugby nerd,” said Waratahs hooker Damien Fitzpatrick.


    NEW ZEALAND

    BLUES
    IN: Isaac Salmon (Tasman), Mike Tamoaieta (North Harbour), Leni Apisai (Hurricanes), Dalton Papali’i (Auckland), Glenn Preston (North Harbour), Jonathan Ruru (Otago), Otere Black (Hurricanes), Daniel Kirkpatrick (Albi), Matty Johnson (Southland), Tamati Tua (Northland), Caleb Clarke (Auckland)
    OUT: Charlie Faumuina (Toulouse), Sam Prattley (Auckland), Epalahame Faiva (Waikato), Brandon Nansen (North Harbour), Leighton Price (Taranaki), Steven Luatua (Bristol), Billy Guyton (Tasman), Piers Francis (Northampton Saints), Ihaia West (Hurricanes), Rene Ranger (La Rochelle), Matt Vaega (North Harbour), Declan O’Donnell (Taranaki)
    VERDICT: C
    Much like his former All Blacks teammate Brad Thorn at the Reds, Blues coach Tana Umaga has largely put his faith in the region’s emerging talent in plugging his squad’s holes.
    Dalton Papali’i, Tamati Tua and Caleb Clarke are all graduates of New Zealand’s world champion under-20 side, with the latter a particularly exciting prospect.
    Clarke, the son of former All Blacks centre Eroni, has a rare combination of size and speed and has been playing for the NZ sevens team.
    The Blues were again NZ’s worst performing team last season and the loss of former All Blacks Charlie Faumuina, Steven Luatua and Rene Ranger has to be a concern.
    Much will hinge on who plays No 10 and, with Hurricanes recruit Otere Black tearing his ACL and Piers Francis moving back to England, Umaga’s options are Stephen Perofeta, Bryn Gatland and Daniel Kirkpatrick.

    CHIEFS
    IN: Fin Hoeata (Taranaki), Tyler Ardron (Ospreys), Luke Jacobson (Waikato), Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Hurricanes), Tiaan Falcon (Hawke’s Bay), Marty McKenzie (Crusaders), Regan Verney (Wellington), Levi Aumua (Tasman)
    OUT: Siegfried Fisiihoi (Stade Francais), Hika Elliot (Oyonnax), Brayden Mitchell (Southland), Sebastian Siataga (Bay of Plenty), James Tucker (Waikato), Tom Sanders (Crusaders), Michael Leitch (Sunwolves), Finlay Christie (Hurricanes), Tawera Kerr-Barlow (La Rochelle), Aaron Cruden (Montpellier), Stephen Donald (Counties Manukau), James Lowe (Leinster), Chase Tiatia (Bay of Plenty)
    VERDICT: C-
    The Chiefs have enjoyed a remarkable six-year run under coach Dave Rennie, qualifying for the finals every season and winning back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.
    But Rennie now coaches in Glasgow and the Chiefs look set to take a slide backwards in 2018 as former Hurricanes mentor Colin Cooper takes the reins.
    In addition to Rennie, the Chiefs have lost a staggering amount of on-field talent and experience in Aaron Cruden, James Lowe, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Michael Leitch, Hika Elliot and Stephen Donald.
    The new recruits are in the promising, rather than proven, category but big things are expected of former NZ under-20 captain Luke Jacobson, sparky halfback Te Tairoa Tahuriorangi, young pivot Tiaan Falcon and backline beast Levi Aumua.
    Former Canada captain Tyler Ardron is another interesting pick-up.

    CRUSADERS
    IN: Ethan Blackadder (Tasman), Billy Harmon (Canterbury), Tom Sanders (Chiefs), Jack Stratton (Canterbury), Mike Delany (Bay of Plenty), Braydon Ennor (Canterbury), Will Jordan (Tasman)
    OUT: Heiden Bedwell-Curtis (Manawatu), Jed Brown (Canterbury), Whetu Douglas (Benetton), Leon Fukofuka (Auckland), Marty McKenzie (Chiefs), Sean Wainui (Taranaki), Digby Ioane (Panasonic Wild Knights)
    VERDICT: A-
    The Crusaders have done a terrific job in retaining all the key players that led them to their eighth Super Rugby title in Johannesburg last season.
    Coach Scott Robertson’s biggest challenge will be managing the workloads of his massive All Blacks contingent as well as dealing with an already lengthy injury list which includes Test stars Kieran Read, Owen Franks, Joe Moody and Israel Dagg.
    Among the new faces are loose forward Blackadder, the son of former Crusaders coach Todd, former All Blacks No 10 Mike Delany and NZ under-20 backline stars Braydon Ennor and Will Jordan.
    Centre/winger Ennor was a tryscoring machine for Mitre 10 Cup champions Canterbury while fullback/winger Jordan is already an extremely classy and well rounded footballer.

    HIGHLANDERS
    IN: Tyrel Lomax (Rebels), Kalolo Tuiloma (Counties Manukau), Pari Pari Parkinson (Tasman), Shannon Frizell (Tasman), Josh Ioane (Otago), Thomas Umaga-Jensen (Wellington), Josh McKay (Canterbury), Tevita Nabura (Counties Manukau)
    OUT: Siua Halanukonuka (Glasgow Warriors), Craig Millar (Sunwolves), Joe Wheeler (Suntory Sungoliath), Shane Christie (Tasman), Gareth Evans (Hurricanes), Marty Banks (Benetton), Hayden Parker (Sunwolves), Jason Emery (Manawatu), Malakai Fekitoa (Toulon), Patrick Osborne (Kubota Spears)
    VERDICT: C
    Much like Colin Cooper at the Chiefs, new Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger has a big job on his hands in continuing on the successful culture developed by predecessors Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown.
    Former All Black Mauger has also lost several senior and influential figures in his squad, including star centre Malakai Fekitoa, cult hero Marty Banks and gnarly forwards Gareth Evans, Shane Christie and Joe Wheeler.
    Former Australian under-20 prop Tyrel Lomax — the son of former Raiders NRL star John — is the most high profile ‘in’ but there are two other new faces with impressive genes.
    Tasman loose forward Shannon Frizell is the younger brother of Kangaroos star Tyson while Wellington centre Thomas Umaga-Jensen is the nephew of former All Blacks great Tana.

    HURRICANES
    IN: Alex Fidow (Wellington), Toby Smith (Rebels), Asafo Aumua (Wellington), Murray Douglas (Rebels), Isaia Walker-Leawere (Wellington), Gareth Evans (Highlanders), Sam Henwood (Counties Manukau), Jamie Booth (Manawatu), Finlay Christie (Chiefs), Jackson Garden-Bachop (Rebels), TJ Va’a (Wellington), Ihaia West (Blues), Jonah Lowe (Hawke’s Bay)
    OUT: Mike Kainga (Taranaki), Loni Uhila (Clermont), Leni Apisai (Blues), Mark Abbott (Coca-Cola Red Sparks), James Broadhurst (retired), Geoffrey Cridge (Hawke’s Bay), Toa Halafihi (Lyon), Hugh Renton (Hawke’s Bay), Kylem O’Donnell (Taranaki), Chris Smylie (North Harbour), Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Chiefs), Otere Black (Blues), Pita Ahki (Connacht), Cory Jane (Toshiba Brave Lupus)
    VERDICT: B
    Some nice pick-ups from the Hurricanes, including experienced forwards Toby Smith, Gareth Evans and Murray Douglas, and capable backup halves Ihaia West, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Finlay Christie and Jamie Booth.
    But the real excitement in Hurricanes country surrounds their explosive New Zealand under-20s graduate tight forwards Asafo Aumua, Alex Fidow and Isaia Walker-Leawere.
    Hooker Aumua toured with the All Blacks last season and is set for plenty of gametime as the back-up to Ricky Riccitelli while captain Dane Coles recovers from his latest injury setback.
    Much like Taniela Tupou, prop Fidow is uncommonly mobile for such a big man while lock Walker-Leawere is also a bright prospect.
    Notable losses include veteran winger Cory Jane, cult prop Loni Uhila and exciting halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi.


    SOUTH AFRICA

    BULLS
    IN: Matthys Basson (Blue Bulls), Frans van Wyk (Stormers), Aston Fortuin (Blue Bulls), Tim Agaba (South Africa sevens), Embrose Papier (Blue Bulls), Marnitz Boshoff (Connacht), Manie Libbok (Blue Bulls), Divan Rossouw (Blue Bulls)
    OUT: Jacobie Adriaanse (Lions), Martin Dreyer (to Kings), John-Roy Jenkinson (Blue Bulls), Corniel Els (to Blue Bulls), Abongile Nonkontwana (Blue Bulls), Shaun Adendorff (Blue Bulls), Arno Botha (London Irish), Jacques Potgieter (sabbatical), Marnus Schoeman (Pumas), Renaldo Bothma (Harlequins), Rudy Paige (Blue Bulls), Piet van Zyl (London Irish), Tony Jantjies (Blue Bulls), Tian Schoeman (Bordeaux), Ulrich Beyers (Blue Bulls), Jan Serfontein (Montpellier), Dries Swanepoel (Blue Bulls), Kefentse Mahlo (released), Sibahle Maxwane (Cheetahs), Franco Naude (Blue Bulls), Luther Obi (Cheetahs)
    VERDICT: D
    Former All Blacks coach John Mitchell’s latest stop in a very interesting career is in Pretoria as he attempts to lift the once mighty Bulls from last year’s 15th place finish.
    Two notable inclusions are South African sevens star Tim Agaba and one Test Springboks five-eighth Marnitz Boshoff, who will provide experienced back-up to the injury prone Handre Pollard.
    But the Bulls have lost a raft of proven performers, including loose forwards Jacques Potgieter, Arno Botha and Renaldo Bothma, Springboks centre Jan Serfontein, halfbacks Rudy Paige and Piet van Zyl and five-eighth Tian Schoeman.
    “I don’t want to make any promises on how the team will perform this year, we will be solely focused on the process,” Mitchell said.
    “It’s about marginal gains for us, stacking good stuff on good stuff daily as we continue to ensure excellence.”

    LIONS
    IN: Rhyno Herbst (Golden Lions), Len Massyn (Golden Lions), Marnus Schoeman (Bulls), Willie Engelbrecht (Pumas), Marco Jansen van Vuren (Golden Lions), Christiaan Meyer (Griquas), Ashlon Davids (Golden Lions), Aphiwe Dyantyi (Golden Lions)
    OUT: Justin Ackerman (Montpellier), Hencus van Wyk (Sunwolves), Akker van der Merwe (Sharks), Ruan Ackermann (Gloucester), Fabian Booysen (SWD Eagles), Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks), Jacques Nel (Kings), Anthony Volmink (Kings), Jaco van der Walt (Edinburgh)
    VERDICT: C
    The Lions have been bridesmaids for the last two Super Rugby seasons, runners-up to the Hurricanes and then the Crusaders.
    They still boast a strong squad but you wonder whether their championship window has closed following the departure of innovative coach Johan Ackermann.
    Swys de Bruin is the new man in charge and he inherits a playing group now missing Springboks halfback Faf de Klerk and loose forward Ruan Ackermann, who has followed his father to Gloucester.
    There aren’t any big name arrivals but young halfback Marco Jansen van Vuren is already earning comparisons to the late, great Joost van der Westhuizen — no mean feat.

    SHARKS
    IN: Ross Geldenhuys (Kings), Mzamo Majola (Kings), Akker van der Merwe (Lions), Gideon Koegelenberg (Zebre), Tyler Paul (Kings), Wian Vosloo (Sharks Currie Cup), Louis Schreuder (Kings), Cameron Wright (Montpellier), Robert du Preez (Stormers), Makazole Mapimpi (Cheetahs), Leolin Zas (Western Province), Courtney Winnaar (Sharks Currie Cup)
    OUT: Lourens Adriaanse (Pau), Stephan Coetzee (Kings), Etienne Oosthuizen (Lyon), Jean Deysel (Ulster), Francois Kleinhans (Pumas), Khaya Majola (Kings), Rowan Gouws (Kings), Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints), Hanco Venter (released), Benhard Janse van Rensburg (Kings), Patrick Lambie (Racing 92), Inny Radebe (released), Odwa Ndungane (retired), S’bura Sithole (Kings), Clement Poitrenaud (retired)
    VERDICT: C
    The Sharks had a solid 2017 campaign and almost tipped out the Lions before falling 23-21 in the first round of the finals.
    But Robert du Preez’s side have lost some big names, including Patrick Lambie, Cobus Reinach and Odwa Ndungane.
    Among the reinforcements are former Stormers five-eighth Robert du Preez, the coach’s son, and halfbacks Louis Schreuder and Cameron Wright.
    There is enough quality sprinkled throughout the squad to be competitive again and the Sharks have recorded impressive preseason wins over the Bulls and Racing 92.

    STORMERS
    IN: Neethling Fouche (Blue Bulls), Steven Kitshoff (Bordeaux), Scarra Ntubeni (return from injury), Joshua Stander (Blue Bulls), George Whitehead (Griquas), JJ Engelbrecht (Toyota Industries Shuttles), Sergeal Petersen (Cheetahs), Raymond Rhule (Cheetahs)
    OUT: Oli Kebble (Glasgow Warriors), Frans van Wyk (Bulls), Rynhardt Elstadt (Toulouse), Marnus Schoeman (Bulls), Godlen Masimla (Kings), Kurt Coleman (Kings), Robert du Preez (Sharks), Brandon Thomson (Glasgow Warriors), Juan de Jongh (Wasps), Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors), Bjorn Basson (Oyonnax), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse)
    VERDICT: B-
    The return of Springboks loose-head Steven Kitshoff is a massive fillip for a Stormers franchise that finished 10-5 last season before losing to the Chiefs in the first round of the finals.
    Former Cheetahs wingers Sergeal Petersen and Raymond Rhule, meanwhile, will add plenty of pace out wide.
    On the negative side of the ledger, the Stormers’ backline depth has been severely eroded by the departures of Kurt Coleman, Robert du Preez, Brandon Thomson, Juan de Jongh, Huw Jones, Bjorn Basson and Cheslin Kolbe.
    “After being in the job for just over two years now‚ he (Stormers coach Robbie Fleck) will be thinking that with the quality of the squad he has and the settled team at his disposal‚ they should step it up this season,” former Stormers star Breyton Paulse told Times Live.
    “The last few seasons haven’t been the greatest‚ so it’s time to deliver.”


    ARGENTINA

    JAGUARES
    IN: Franco Brarda (Tala), Javier Diaz (Natacion), Nicolas Leiva (Hindu), Juan Pablo Zeiss (Los Matreros), Diego Fortuny (Universitario de Salta), Santiago Montagner (Alumni), Rodrigo Bruni (San Luis), Tomas Cubelli (Brumbies), Sebastian Cancelliere (Hindu), Bautista Delguy (Pucara)
    OUT: Cristian Bartoloni (Charente), Facundo Gigena (Leicester Tigers), Ramiro Herrera (Stade Francais), Lucas Noguera Paz (Bath), Roberto Tejerizo (Tucuman), Juan Cruz Guillemain (released), Ignacio Larrague (Club Atletico San Isidro), Rodrigo Baez (Liceo), Santiago Portillo (Los Tarcos), Gabriel Ascarate (Natacion), Santiago Cordero (Exeter Chiefs), Nicolas Freitas (Carrasco Polo), Manuel Montero (Pucara)
    VERDICT: C
    The biggest change in Jaguares country has been the appointment of former Wallabies scrum guru Mario Ledesma as the club’s new head coach.
    The only way, you would hope, is up after a lacklustre opening two seasons in Super Rugby, finishing 13th and 10th despite a roster jam packed full of Argentina Test stars.
    Former Brumbies halfback Tomas Cubelli is the biggest addition on the pitch while several Pumas players have moved on, including Ramiro Herrera, Lucas Noguera Paz, Rodrigo Baez, Santiago Cordero and Manuel Montero.


    JAPAN

    SUNWOLVES
    IN: Asaeli Ai Valu (Panasonic Wild Knights), Shintaro Ishihara (Suntory Sungoliath), Craig Millar (Highlanders), Ruan Smith (Toyota Verblitz), Hencus van Wyk (Lions), Jaba Bregvadze (Worcester Warriors), Grant Hattingh (Kubota Spears), Kazuki Himeno (Toyota Verblitz), James Moore (Toshiba Brave Lupus), Lappies Labuschagne (Kubota Spears), Wimpie van der Walt (NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes), Michael Leitch (Chiefs), Kouki Arai (Canon Eagles), Hayden Parker (Highlanders), Michael Little (Mitsubishi Dynaboars), Ryoto Nakamura (Suntory Sungoliath), Sione Teaupa (Kubota Spears), Lomano Lemeki (Honda Heat), Hosea Saumaki (Canon Eagles), Gerhard van den Heever (Yamaha Jubilo), Akihito Yamada (Panasonic Wild Knights), Robbie Robinson (Ricoh Black Rams)
    OUT: Kohei Asahori (Toyota Verblitz), Heiichiro Ito (Yamaha Jubilo), Masataka Mikami (Toshiba Brave Lupus), Yasuo Yamaji (Canon Eagles), Koki Yamamoto (Yamaha Jubilo), Takeshi Kizu (Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers), Atsushi Sakate (Panasonic Wild Knights), Kyosuke Kajikawa (Toshiba Brave Lupus), Naohiro Kotaki (Toshiba Brave Lupus), Liaki Moli (Hino Red Dolphins), Yuya Odo (Yamaha Jubilo), Hitoshi Ono (Toshiba Brave Lupus), Kazuhiko Usami (Panasonic Wild Knights), Kotaro Yatabe (Panasonic Wild Knights), Shokei Kin (NTT Shining Arcs), Malgene Ilaua (Toshiba Brave Lupus), Shuhei Matsuhashi (Ricoh Black Rams), Yuhimaru Mimura (Yamaha Jubilo), Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco (NTT Shining Arcs), Takahiro Ogawa (Toshiba Brave Lupus), Kaito Shigeno (NEC Green Rockets), Yuki Yatomi (Yamaha Jubilo), Hayden Cripps (Hino Red Dolphins), Jumpei Ogura (NTT Shining Arcs), Hikaru Tamura (Suntory Sungoliath), Michael Bond (Canon Eagles), Derek Carpenter (Suntory Sungoliath), Ryohei Yamanaka (Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers), Shota Emi (Suntory Sungoliath), Teruya Goto (NEC Green Rockets), Ataata Moeakiola (Tokai University), Takaaki Nakazuru (Suntory Sungoliath), Kazushi Hano (NTT Shining Arcs), Rikiya Matsuda (Panasonic Wild Knights), Yasutaka Sasakura (Panasonic Wild Knights), JJ Taulagi (Newton Abbot), Riaan Viljoen (NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes)
    VERDICT: A-
    There has been extraordinary turnover at Japan’s expansion franchise but, crucially, they now have two top notch coaches in former All Blacks Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown, who led the Highlanders to the 2015 Super Rugby title.
    Plenty of quality players have left, but overall the squad is undoubtedly stronger with the likes of Lappies Labuschagne, Michael Leitch, Hayden Parker, Michael Little, Akihito Yamada and Robbie Robinson all jumping on board.
    The Sunwolves are now grouped in the Australian conference and won’t be the easy ‘W’ they have been in the past — particularly on their home track.

    https://www.perthnow.com.au/sport/ru...308df25036d68d

    19 - Force Players
    2 - Spirit Players
    20 - Experienced Australian Players that have left Super Rugby

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    Last edited by The InnFORCEr; 09-02-18 at 14:13.
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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    Spewing!!!!!

    No place for Benny Mac anywhere. I guess that shoulder injury is worse than we thought. Hope he’s not had to hang up the boots altogether.

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    Last I read was that NSW were going to offer Benny Mac a contract subject to a medical so I assume said medical was “failed”?

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    Last I read was that NSW were going to offer Benny Mac a contract subject to a medical so I assume said medical was “failed”?
    Yes, that's what I'm assuming too.....maybe he will play for the new Force????!!

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    Super Rugby? Never heard of it. Sounds dodgy to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalahard View Post
    Super Rugby? Never heard of it. Sounds dodgy to me.
    It's a misnomer, that's for sure!

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    The amount of players from the Aussie teams in those lists leaving for Europe is a disgrace. It used to be the retiring players but now it is players leaving at what should be the peak of their careers (Butler, Skelton, Fardy, Hanson, Steve Cummins, Sean McMahon, Mitch Inman, Jonah Placid just to name a few)

    Yet the ARU will be patting themselves on the back looking at how strong the squads look now with all the Force players.

    What is the real issue here

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha Handy View Post
    The amount of players from the Aussie teams in those lists leaving for Europe is a disgrace. It used to be the retiring players but now it is players leaving at what should be the peak of their careers (Butler, Skelton, Fardy, Hanson, Steve Cummins, Sean McMahon, Mitch Inman, Jonah Placid just to name a few)

    Yet the ARU will be patting themselves on the back looking at how strong the squads look now with all the Force players.

    What is the real issue here
    19 - Force Players
    2 - Spirit Players
    20 - Experienced Australian Players that have left Super Rugby

    Added some colour to the list to highlight this

    And amazingly without Gus Cotterall being added to the Rebels list or Mitchel Short to the Waratahs list, the numbers are almost dead set even!!!

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    Last edited by The InnFORCEr; 09-02-18 at 14:14.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha Handy View Post

    What is the real issue here
    Same as ever. Incompetent management who's main focus is protecting the usual suspects. Which has led to shrinking the game when their charter is to grow and protect it.

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    Haven't read the article yet, scrolled straight down to reply.

    It's the Rebels right?

    Did they put the Force down as the losers?

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    C'mon the

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    Quote Originally Posted by The InnFORCEr View Post
    Rob Simmons’ arrival makes sense after Dean Mumm and Will Skelton moved on
    Because they needed to find a lock that was all hype and no substance?

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    C'mon the

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    Quote Originally Posted by The InnFORCEr View Post
    17 - Force Players
    2 - Spirit Players
    20 - Experienced Australian Players that have left Super Rugby

    Added some colour to the list to highlight this

    And amazingly without Gus Cotterall being added to the Rebels list or Mitchel Short to the Waratahs list, the numbers are almost dead set even!!!
    TIF, you missed out Chance Peni at the Brumbies and Jono Lance at the Reds.

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    http://www.news.com.au/sport/footbal...f2621affbb7579

    Interesting read. A non visible sport lacking star players is struggling. Sounds familiar.

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    Peni and Richie Arnold are on longer contracts the rest are EPS or one season deals.

    Arnold I can understand and Peni looking himself in as wingers have a shorter career span in Super Rugby.

    D'arcy Swain may look for a loan deal to the Force as he is behind three Wallabies and a potential Wallaby (Richie). Tom Staniforth had to leave.

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    Sias Ebersohn has retired at 28 to take up farming.

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