Feb 21 • General News, Super Rugby, Super Rugby News • 1232 Views • No Comments on AUSTRALIAN SQUADS FINALISED FOR 2018 VODAFONE SUPER RUGBY SEASON

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Following months of anticipation, the 2018 Vodafone Super Rugby season is upon us with the action set to kick off in Australia this weekend.

Across the four Australian teams 156 players have been signed to the 2018 season including 22 fresh faces who are in line to make their Super Rugby debut.

Each Australian team will also welcome back a stellar line up of experienced players with 21 of them set to celebrate a career landmark of either 50 or 100 Super Rugby caps during the season.

The Australian Conference kicks off in just two sleeps when the Melbourne Rebels go head to head with the Queensland Reds this Friday night at AAMI Park (7.45pm AEDT kick off).

New Rebels Head Coach David Wessels has a strong squad at his disposal with 13 Qantas Wallabies stars including Will Genia, Reece Hodge and Dane Haylett-Petty.

The squad also features Japan’s powerful number 8 Amanaki Mafi and former England lock Geoff Parling.

Newly appointed Captain Adam Coleman will be putting the Rebels jersey on for the first time alongside 16 others including Matt Philip and Jermaine Ainsley. At the ripe age of 26, Coleman has 48 Super Rugby caps under his belt together with 20 international appearances for the Wallabies.

The Rebels will face some tough interstate competition, going up against the Reds who are ready to fire under new Head Coach Brad Thorn.

Thorn has recruited 10 new players – seven being selected from the Queensland Country squad following their remarkable 2017 season which saw them win their first NRC Grand Final.

Included in that list is Wallabies Spring Tour development player Liam Wright, NRC leading try scorer Filipo Daugunu and NSW Country Eagles hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa.

Adding to this, 20 Reds players have been retained from the 2017 squad including Wallabies Lukhan Tui, Izack Rodda, Samu Kerevi, James Slipper, George Smith, Taniela Tupou and Captain Scott Higginbotham.

Higginbotham will be the 117th Captain to lead the Reds and brings with him a wealth of experience following 123 Super Rugby games and 34 Tests for Australia.

Following this match, the Brumbies who were Australia’s 2017 Conference Champions, will open their season in Tokyo on Saturday against the Sunwolves (3.15pm AEDT kick off).

The Canberra-based squad will welcome back Wallaby David Pocock following a break from Australian Rugby. The powerful back-rower will lead the forward pack alongside a lineup of fresh faces including Mees Erasmus, Richie Arnold, Isi Naisarani, Lachie McCaffrey and Folau Fainga’a.

Head Coach Dan McKellar will also have 13 Wallabies and international stars to call on including Tevita Kuridrani, Scott Sio and Henry Speight.

Co-Captain Christian Lealiifano is ready to lead the squad alongside fellow Wallaby Sam Carter. Lealiifano recently re-joined the side from Top 14 outfit Ulster after overcoming his battle with leukaemia.

Later that night, Australia’s most recent Super Rugby champions, the Waratahs, will begin their quest for a second title against the Stormers at Allianz Stadium (7.45pm AEDT kick off).

The ‘Tahs boast a star-studded line up of Wallabies including Captain Michael Hooper, Kurtley Beale, Bernard Foley and Israel Folau.

It’s set to be another big year for the inspirational Hooper with the 26-year-old to lead the side for a fourth successive season.

Beale has returned to Sydney following a stint for Wasps in the English Premiership while lock Rob Simmons has made his way south following nine seasons in Queensland.

Head Coach Daryl Gibson has also introduced 10 new recruits to his 40-man squad including Tom Staniforth, Curtis Rona and Alex Newsome.

Every match will be broadcast live on FOX Sports and once again Network Ten will replay a feature match free to air nationally every Sunday morning at 8am on ONE.

Rebels (37)

Prop Jermaine Ainsley Ben Daley Tetera Faulkner Tom Moloney Fereti Sa’aga Sam Talakai Laurie Weeks

Hooker Anaru Rangi Jordan Uelese

Lock Adam Coleman Sam Jeffries Geoff Parling Matt Philip

Back Row Angus Cottrell Colby Fainga’a Richard Hardwick Robert Leota Ross Haylett-Petty Amanaki Mafi Lopeti Timani

Scrumhalf Will Genia Harrison Goddard Michael Ruru

Flyhalf Tayler Adams Jack McGregor Jack Debreczeni (supplementary contract)

Centre Tom English Reece Hodge David Horwitz Bill Meakes Sione Tuipulotu

Outside Back Dane Haylett-Petty Henry Hutchison Marika Koroibete Jack Maddocks Sefa Naivalu Semisi Tupou

Reds (40)

Prop Sef Fa’agase Harry Hoopert James Slipper JP Smith Taniela Tupou Markus Vanzati (not currently required to train with the squad)

Hooker Alex Mafi Andrew Ready Brandon Paenga-Amosa

Lock Angus Blyth Kane Douglas Harry Hockings Izack Rodda Lukhan Tui

Back Row Michael Gunn Reece Hewat Scott Higginbotham Adam Korczyk Angus Scott-Young George Smith Caleb Timu Liam Wright

Scrumhalf Nick Frisby (not currently required to train with the squad) Tate McDermott Moses Sorovi James Tuttle

Flyhalf Quade Cooper (not currently required to train with the squad) Hamish Stewart Ben Lucas Jono Lance Teti Tela

Centre Chris Feauai-Sautia Samu Kerevi Duncan Paia’aua

Outside Back Filipo Daugunu Karmichael Hunt (voluntary stand down from Rugby duties) Lachlan Maranta Eto Nabuli Izaia Perese Aidan Toua

Brumbies (39)

Prop Allan Alaalatoa Ben Alexander Mees Erasmus Leslie Leulua’iali’i-makin Nic Mayhew Scott Sio Faalelei Sione

Hooker Robbie Abel Folau Fainga’a Josh Mann-Rea

Lock Richie Arnold Rory Arnold Sam Carter Blake Enever Ben Hyne Darcy Swain

Back Row Tom Cusack Lachlan McCaffrey Isi Naisarani David Pocock Rob Valetini Lolo Fakaosilea

Scrumhalf Ryan Lonergan Matt Lucas Joe Powell

Flyhalf Wharenui Hawera Christian Lealiifano Mack Hansen

Centre Kyle Godwin Jordan Jackson-Hope Andrew Smith Tevita Kuridrani

Outside Back Chance Peni Henry Speight James Dargaville James Verity-Amm Lausii Taliauli Tom Banks Andy Muirhead

Waratahs (40)

Prop Paddy Ryan Sekope Kepu Matt Sandell Tom Robertson Shameckler Vui Harry Johnson-Holmes Cody Walker

Hooker Damien Fitzpatrick Tolu Latu Hugh Roach JP Sauni

Lock Tom Staniforth Rob Simmons Ryan McCauley Nick Palmer

Lock/Back Row Ned Hanigan Lachlan Swinton

Back Row Brad Wilkin Michael Hooper Jack Dempsey Jed Holloway Michael Wells Will Miller  Maclean Jones Kelly Meafua

Scrumhalf Nick Phipps Jake Gordon Mitch Short (cover)

Flyhalf Bernard Foley Mack Mason

Inside Centre/Flyhalf/Fullback Kurtley Beale

Flyhalf/Fullback Bryce Hegarty   Centre Irae Simone Lalakai Foketi

Centre/Wing Curtis Rona Alex Newsome

Outside Back Cameron Clark Andrew Kellaway Taqele Naiyaravoro Israel Folau



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