Osborne Out, Nabura Gets Nod

Five Fijians will feature for Crusaders and Highlanders in 2018 Super Rugby season   Patrick Osborne has been replaced by fellow Fijian Tevita Nabura for the Highlanders 2018 Super Rugby
02 Nov 2017 11:00
Osborne Out, Nabura Gets Nod
HIGHLANDERS NEW PAIRING…Waisake Naholo of Taranaki is tackled by Tevita Nabura of Counties Manukau during the round three Mitre 10 Cup match at Yarrow Stadium on September 2, 2017 in New Plymouth. Photo: Zimbio.

Five Fijians will feature for Crusaders and Highlanders in 2018 Super Rugby season


Patrick Osborne has been replaced by fellow Fijian Tevita Nabura for the Highlanders 2018 Super Rugby season.

Osborne is the notable omission when the New Zealand’s five franchises all unveiled their 38-man squads yesterday.

Five Fijians will play for two franchises, Highlanders and Crusaders next season.

New Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger has named Counties Manukau speedster Nabura among the new faces who will join 30 players from the 2017 team, with eight current or former All Blacks and seven Maori All Blacks in the ranks.

Nabura will team up with fellow Fijian Waisake Naholo.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has retained Jone Macilai, Manasa Mataele and Setareki Tamanivalu.

Tamanivalu is now with the All Blacks squad for the Northern Hemisphere tour and has a good chance to play a test against France, Scotland or Wales. This was after he played his last test in 2016.

Robertson was instrumental in convincing Tamanivalu to stay for the red and blacks after Chiefs head coach Colin Cooper wanted the Yasawa native to move base to Hamilton.

Robertson moved Tamanivalu to the wing and he was devastating for Crusaders this year. He scored a breakaway try in the final against the Lions in Johannesburg (his ninth try in 16 games) and a good replacement for bulldozing Nemani Nadolo.

New Zealand’s five Super Rugby franchises 2018 squads


Blues coach Tana Umaga has named 10 current or former All Blacks in his 38-man squad as the Auckland-based franchise looks to improve on its last-placed finish in the 2017 New Zealand conference.

Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Jerome Kaino, Matt Duffie, Patrick Tuipulotu, Rieko Ioane and Sonny Bill Williams are the current All Blacks, along with wider squad member Akira Ioane.

Strong Mitre 10 Cup form has led to opportunities for North Harbour prop Mike Tamoaieta, Tasman prop Isaac Salmon, and Southland midfielder Matt Johnson, while winger Caleb Clarke, flanker Dalton Papalii and centre Tamati Tua all earn contracts after starring for New Zealand’s world champion under-20 team.

North Harbour loose forward Glenn Preston and Otago halfback Jonathan Ruru are other new faces.

Former Hurricanes five-eighth Otere Black has moved north but is out for the season after suffering an ACL injury.

He is replaced by experienced Wellington pivot Daniel Kirkpatrick, with Stephen Perofeta and Bryn Gatland the other No 10 options in Umaga’s squad.


Hookers: Leni Apisai, Matt Moulds, James Parsons

Props: Alex Hodgman, Sione Mafileo, Pauliasi Manu, Isaac Salmon, Mike Tamoaieta, Ofa Tu’ungafasi

Locks: Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Josh Goodhue, Scott Scrafton, Patrick Tuipulotu, Jimmy Tupou

Loose forwards: Blake Gibson, Akira Ioane, Jerome Kaino, Dalton Papalii, Glenn Preston, Kara Pryor, Murphy Taramai

Halfbacks: Sam Nock, Augustine Pulu, Jonathan Ruru

Five-eighths: Otere Black/Daniel Kirkpatrick, Bryn Gatland, Stephen Perofeta

Midfielders: Matt Johnson, George Moala, Tamati Tua, TJ Faiane, Sonny Bill Williams

Outside backs: Caleb Clarke, Michael Collins, Matt Duffie, Rieko Ioane, Melani Nanai, Jordan Trainor


New Chiefs coach Colin Cooper has been able to name a settled squad, with 31 players returning from the 2017 season.

Cooper has seven current All Blacks at his disposal in Brodie Retallick, Damian McKenzie, Sam Cane, Nepo Laulala, Kane Hames, Nathan Harris and Anton Lienert-Brown.

Utility back Marty McKenzie returns to Hamilton from a stint with the Crusaders while the six new faces are former Hurricanes halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, New Zealand under-20s captain Luke Jacobson, promising five-eighth Tiaan Falcon, former Canada skipper Tyler Ardron, Wellington midfielder Regan Verney and Tasman outside back Levi Aumua.

All Blacks fullback Damian McKenzie is expected to direct the side from No 10.


Hookers: Liam Polwart, Nathan Harris, Samisoni Taukei’aho

Props: Aidan Ross, Atu Moli, Kane Hames, Mitchell Graham, Nepo Laulala, Sosefo Kautai

Locks: Brodie Retallick, Dominic Bird, Fin Hoeata, Michael Allardice

Loose forwards: Lachlan Boshier, Liam Messam, Luke Jacobson, Mitchell Brown, Mitchell Karpik, Sam Cane, Taleni Seu, Tyler Ardron

Halfbacks: Brad Weber, Jonathan Taumateine, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi

Five-eighths: Damian McKenzie, Marty McKenzie, Tiaan Falcon

Midfielders: Alex Nankivell, Anton Lienert-Brown, Charlie Ngatai, Johnny Fa’auli, Regan Verney

Outside backs: Levi Aumua, Sam McNicol, Shaun Stevenson, Solomon Alaimalo, Toni Pulu

Utility back: Tim Nanai-Williams


Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has named seven new players in his squad to defend their Super Rugby title in 2018.

There are 12 current All Blacks in the powerful squad while flanker Tom Sanders returns to Christchurch after spending two seasons at the Chiefs.

Exciting New Zealand under-20s outside backs Will Jordan (Tasman) and Braydon Ennor (Canterbury) have earned their first Super Rugby contracts after starring in the Mitre 10 Cup while Tasman flanker Ethan Blackadder — the son of former Crusaders coach Todd — is also included for the first time.

Former All Blacks five-eighth Mike Delany is another ‘new’ face after directing Bay of Plenty to the Mitre 10 Cup championship final.


Hookers: Ben Funnell, Andrew Makalio, Codie Taylor

Props: Mike Alaalatoa, Wyatt Crockett, Owen Franks, Oliver Jager, Joe Moody, Tim Perry

Locks: Scott Barrett, Mitchell Dunshea, Luke Romano, Quinten Strange, Sam Whitelock

Loose forwards: Ethan Blackadder, Billy Harmon, Kieran Read, Tom Sanders, Pete Samu, Jordan Taufua, Matt Todd

Halfbacks: Mitchell Drummond, Bryn Hall, Jack Stratton

Five-eighths: Mike Delany, Mitchell Hunt, Richie Mo’unga

Midfielders: Tim Bateman, Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Braydon Ennor

Outside backs: George Bridge, Israel Dagg, David Havili, Will Jordan, Jone Macilai, Manasa Mataele, Seta Tamanivalu


New Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger has named a squad featuring 30 players from the 2017 team, with eight current or former All Blacks and seven Maori All Blacks in the ranks.

The new faces are Wellington midfielder Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Tasman forwards Shannon Frizell, Pari Pari Parkinson and Tyrel Lomax (the former Australian under-20s prop), Counties Manukau duo Kalolo Tuiloma and Tevita Nabura, Canterbury outside back Josh McKay and Otago five-eighth Josh Ioane.


Hookers: Liam Coltman, Ash Dixon, Greg Pleasants-Tate

Props: Daniel Lienert-Brown, Tyrel Lomax, Guy Millar, Aki Seiuli, Siate Tokolahi, Kalolo Tuiloma

Locks: Alex Ainley, Josh Dickson, Tom Franklin, Jackson Hemopo, Pari Pari Parkinson

Loose forwards: Elliot Dixon, Shannon Frizell, Dillon Hunt, James Lentjes, Dan Pryor, Liam Squire, Luke Whitelock

Halfbacks: Kayne Hammington, Josh Renton, Aaron Smith

Five-eighths: Josh Ioane, Fletcher Smith, Lima Sopoaga

Midfielders: Richard Buckman, Patelesio Tomkinson, Rob Thompson, Teihorangi Walden, Thomas Umaga-Jensen

Outside backs: Matt Faddes, Tevita Li, Josh McKay, Tevita Nabura, Waisake Naholo, Ben Smith


Eleven new faces including three Super Rugby rookies and a Wallaby Test prop are the features of the 2018 Hurricanes squad announced by coach Chris Boyd.

New All Blacks hooker Asafo Aumua gains his first Super Rugby contract along with his New Zealand under-20 and Wellington teammates Alex Fidow and Isaia Walker-Leawere.

Six-cap Australia prop Toby Smith has signed on from the Rebels, as has Scottish lock Murray Douglas.


Hookers: Asafo Aumua, Dane Coles, Ricky Riccitelli

Props: Chris Eves, Alex Fidow, Reg Goodes, Ben May, Toby Smith, Jeffery To’omaga-Allen

Locks: James Blackwell, Murray Douglas, Michael Fatialofa, Sam Lousi, Isaia Walker-Leawere

Loose forwards: Gareth Evans, Vaea Fifita, Sam Henwood, Reed Prinsep, Ardie Savea, Brad Shields, Blade Thomson

Halfbacks: Jamie Booth, Finlay Christie, TJ Perenara

Five-eighths: Beauden Barrett, Jackson Garden-Bachop, TJ Va’a, Ihaia West

Midfielders: Vince Aso, Ngani Laumape, Matt Proctor, Peter Umaga-Jensen

Outside backs: Jordie Barrett, Wes Goosen, Ben Lam, Jonah Lowe, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Julian Savea.



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