Super Rugby Pacific squad announcement: Crosscode convert Roger Tuivasa-Sheck named in Blues midfield

Former NZ Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has been named in the Blues midfield line-up, as the five NZ franchises - plus newcomers Moana Pasifika - reveal their squads for next year's Super Rugby Pacific.

Tuivasa-Sheck, 28, rocked both rugby and rugby league codes with his January announcement that he had signed with NZ Rugby and the Blues for 2022, sparking conjecture over what position he might fill in the 15-a-side format.

After playing wing and fullback in league, he left the Warriors' 2021 NRL campaign early to link with Auckland and begin his rugby re-education, after starring across both codes at Otahuhu College. An official Auckland photoshoot even portrayed 'RTS' in both No.13 and No.14 jerseys, just to further muddy the waters.

Tuivasa-Sheck was due to make his much-anticipated NPC debut, when COVID-19 suspended the competition and eventually ruled Auckland out of contention, as the city's Alert Level 3 lockdown dragged on.

But Blues coach Leon MacDonald finally seems to have tipped his hand on where he sees Tuivasa-Sheck's skillset fitting, naming him in the centres, alongside All Blacks utility Rieko Ioane.

One shock inclusion for the Blues is former Crusaders lock Luke Romano, who has amassed 136 games for the southern franchise since 2011 and another 63 for Canterbury - the only domestic teams he's ever represented. With incumbent captain Patrick Tuipulotu heading to Japan for a season, MacDonald desperately needs his experience in the second row.

One-hundred-and-ninety NZ Rugby-contracted players are spread across the five squads, with another 38 players signed by Moana Pasifika. They include 31 rookies - including Tuivasa-Sheck - taking up their first Super Rugby contracts.

The squads see some significant names returning to the competition, after stints overseas, including current All Blacks Beauden Barrett, Brodie Retallick and TJ Perenara, and former internationals Dom Bird and Owen Frans, although the latter is doubtful with an Achilles injury.

"It's hard to remember a time when there were so many talking points and so much talent spread across our five squads," says NZR professional rugby general manager Chris Lendrum.

"When you throw Moana Pasifika into the mix, you get a real sense of the anticipation and excitement about the new Super Rugby Pacific competition.

"It's great to see some of the experience and knowledge that has returned to New Zealand, and those players will be invaluable on and off the field, where they set the example and standard for our rookies.

"There has been some movement in among the teams, which has spread some of the talent, and the new format will provide a real test of depth and tactics, as they chase a place in the eight-team playoffs."

The full squads for Super Rugby Pacific 2022 are:


Coach Leon MacDonald
Coach Leon MacDonald Photo credit: Photosport

Hookers - Kurt Eklund, Soane Vikena, Ricky Riccitelli 

Props - Alex Hodgman, Jordan Lay, Ofa Tuungafasi, Marcel Renata, Nepo Laulala, Karl Tu'inukuafe  

Locks - James Tucker, Josh Goodhue, Sam Darry, Luke Romano. 

Loose forwards - Taine Plumtree, Tom Robinson, Akira Ioane, Dalton Papalii, Anton Segner, Hoskins Sotutu, Cameron Suafoa, Adrian Choat 

Halfbacks - Finlay Christie, Sam Nock, Taufa Funaki 

Inside backs - Beauden Barrett, Harry Plummer, Stephen Perofeta 

Midfield - Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Tanielu Tele'a, Rieko Ioane, Corey Evans, Tamati Tua 

Outside backs - Mark Telea, Caleb Clarke, Bryce Heem, AJ Lam, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Zarn Sullivan. 

Unavailable due to injury - James Lay

Gains - Tuivasa-Sheck (Warriors), Barrett (Japan), Jordan Lay (Auckland), Riccitelli (Hurricanes), Romano (Crusaders), Tucker (Brumbies), Funaki (Auckland), Evans (Auckland), Tua (Northland), Suafoa (North Harbour), Choat (Auckland), Segner (Tasman) 

On the move - Blake Gibson (Hurricanes), Emoni Narawa (Chiefs), Otere Black (Japan), TJ Faiane (Japan), Gerard Cowley-Tuioti (Japan), Patrick Tuipulotu (Japan), Jacob Pierce (Japan), Ray Nuia (Moana Pasifika), Luteru Tolai (Moana Pasifika), Jonathan Ruru (France), Dillon Hunt (Retired) 

Coach Leon MacDonald: "Our key learning is that if we put in the mahi every week, every day and every session, and we do our homework and prepare well, then we can get the rewards.

"We can take real confidence from the Trans-Tasman title, but at the same time, we realise this is a new competition and we all start on zero points.

"I am confident we have a team with a good mix of internationals and young guys.

"Titles aren't the target every week - they are a consequence of us striving to improve in every aspect of our game and producing a level of rugby that we are proud of. It is going to be a hell of a ride."


Coach Clayton McMillan
Coach Clayton McMillan Photo credit: Photosport

Hookers - Samisoni Taukei'aho, Bradley Slater, Tyrone Thompson

Props - Aidan Ross, Atunaisa Moli, Angus Ta’avao, Ollie Norris, Sione Mafileo, Reuben O'Neill

Locks - Tupou Vaa'i, Brodie Retallick, Laghlan McWhannell, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Josh Lord

Loose Forwards - Mitchell Brown, Sam Cane, Luke Jacobson, Simon Parker, Pita Gus Sowakula, Kaylum Boshier, Samipeni Finau

Halfbacks - Brad Weber, Xavier Roe, Cortez Ratima

First five-eighths - Bryn Gatland, Kaleb Trask, Josh Ioane

Midfielders - Alex Nankivell, Anton Lienert-Brown, Quinn Tupaea, Rameka Poihipi, Gideon Wrampling

Outside backs - Jonah Lowe, Emoni Narawa, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Chase Tiatia, Shaun Stevenson, Rivez Reihana

Gains - Ioane (Highlanders), Retallick (Japan), Narawa (Blues), Thompson (Wellington), Finau (Waikato), Ratima (Waikato), Wrampling (Waikato)  

On the move - Damian McKenzie (Japan), Lachlan Boshier (Japan), Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Crusaders), Kini Naholo (Crusaders), Bailyn Sullivan (Hurricanes), Ezekiel Lindenmuth (Moana Pasifika), Viliame Taulani (England), Nathan Harris (Retired)  

Coach Clayton McMillan: "I am really excited with the squad we have assembled, highlighted by the vast majority of last year's roster being kept intact.

"Some valuable lessons have been learned in recent seasons, and we believe continuity of selection will help us take those learnings and start delivering consistently on our potential.

"Some internal belief started to emerge last year, after navigating our way through some real adversity, but it's important we only see that as the starting point.

"We have to be better and I am confident the squad we have selected will be motivated in more ways than one to do just that."


Coach Jason Holland
Coach Jason Holland Photo credit: Photosport

Hookers - Asafo Aumua, Dane Coles, James O'Reilly 

Props - Tevita Mafileo, Alex Fidow, Xavier Numia, Tyrel Lomax, Pasilio Tosi, Pouri Rakete-Stones 

Locks - James Blackwell, Dom Bird, Scott Scrafton, Justin Sangster 

Loose forwards - Brayden Iose, Du'Plessis Kirifi, Reed Prinsep, Blake Gibson, Ardie Savea, Tyler Laubscher, Devan Flanders, Caleb Delany, TK Howden 

Halfbacks - Jamie Booth, TJ Perenara, Cam Roigard 

First fives - Aidan Morgan, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Ruben Love 

Midfield - Teihorangi Walden, Billy Proctor, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Bailyn Sullivan 

Outside backs - Julian Savea, Jordie Barrett, Pepesana Patafilo, Salesi Rayasi, Wes Goosen, Josh Moorby 

Unavailable due to injury - Owen Franks, Isaia Walker-Leawere

Gains - Bird (France), Gibson (Blues), Walden (Taranaki), Sullivan (Chiefs), Tosi (Bay of Plenty), Sangster (Bay of Plenty), Laubscher (Manawatu), Morgan (Wellington), Roigard (Counties-Manukau), Moorby (Southland), Delaney (Wellington), Howden (Manawatu), Franks (England) 

On the move - Ngani Laumape (France), Vince Aso (Japan), Vaea Fifita (England), Ricky Riccitelli (Blues), Gareth Evans (Highlanders), Simon Hickey (Crusaders), Lolagi Visinia (Moana Pasifika), Jonathan Taumateine (Moana Pasifika), Orbyn Leger (Japan), Danny Toala (Moana Pasifika), Luke Campbell (France), Liam Mitchell (Italy), Kane Leaupepe (Retired), Fraser Armstrong (Retired) 

Coach Jason Holland: "I'm excited about our first-year Hurricanes.

"We've got TK Howden and Justin Sangster coming onboard, both of whom have been dominant in the NPC this season and it will be great to see where they can get to in their first full year at Super level." 

"In the backs, the majority of last year's group are back, but we are pleased to welcome Tei Walden, Bailyn Sullivan and Josh Moorby, who will add great competition for spots in that backline." 


Coach Scott Robertson
Coach Scott Robertson Photo credit: Photosport

Hookers - Codie Taylor, Brodie McAlister, Shilo Klein 

Props - Joe Moody, Oli Jager, Fletcher Newell, George Bower, Tamaiti Williams, Finlay Brewis  

Locks - Scott Barrett, Quinten Strange, Mitchell Dunshea, Sam Whitelock, Zach Gallagher

Loose forwards - Tom Christie, Ethan Blackadder, Sione Havili Talitui, Cullen Grace, Pablo Matera, Dominic Gardiner, Corey Kellow 

Halfbacks - Mitch Drummond, Bryn Hall, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi 

First fives - Richie Mo'unga, Simon Hickey, Fergus Burke 

Midfield - Jack Goodhue, David Havili, Braydon Ennor, Isaiah Punivai, Dallas McLeod 

Outside backs - Chay Fihaki, George Bridge, Sevu Reece, Will Jordan, Leicester Fainga'anuku, Kini Naholo  

Gains - Matera (Argentina), Tahuriorangi (Chiefs), Naholo (Chiefs), Hickey (Hurricanes), Gardiner (Canterbury), Brewis (Canterbury), Gallagher (Canterbury), Klein (Canterbury), Kellow (Canterbury) 

On the move - Isileli Tuungafasi (Moana Pasifika), Andrew Makalio (Highlanders), Michael Alaalatoa (Ireland), Whetukamokamo Douglas (Japan), Tom Sanders (Japan), Ereatara Enari (Moana Pasifika), Brett Cameron (Japan), Manasa Mataele (Force), Luke Romano (Blues), Josh McKay (Scotland) 


Coach Tony Brown
Coach Tony Brown Photo credit: Getty Images

Hookers - Liam Coltman, Rhys Marshall, Andrew Makalio  

Props - Ayden Johnstone, Jeff Thwaites, Ethan de Groot, Jermaine Ainsley, Josh Hohneck, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Saula Ma'u 

Locks - Maanaki Selby-Rickit, Josh Dickson, Bryn Evans, Max Hicks, Sam Caird 

Loose forwards - James Lentjes, Billy Harmon, Hugh Renton, Shannon Frizell, Marino Mikaele-Tu'u, Gareth Evans, Sean Withy 

Halfbacks - Aaron Smith, Folau Fakatava, Kayne Hammington 

First fives - Marty Banks, Mitchell Hunt 

Midfield - Fetuli Paea, Patelesio Tomkinson, Solomon Alaimalo, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Ngatungane Punivai, Scott Gregory 

Outside backs - Connor Garden-Bachop, Mosese Dawai, Vilimoni Koroi, Sam Gilbert, Josh Timu 

Unavailable due to injury - Jona Nareki, Pari Pari Parkinson 

Gains - Gareth Evans (Hurricanes), Makalio (Crusaders), Banks (Southland), Dawai (Waikato), Marshall (Ireland), Timu (Otago), Withy (Otago), Ma’u (Otago), Hicks (Tasman), Caird (Northland) 

On the move - Josh Ioane (Chiefs), Ash Dixon (Japan), Siate Tokolahi (France), Kazuki Himeno (Japan), Teariki Ben-Nicholas (France), Michael Collins (Wales), Tim O'Malley (Italy), Jack Regan (Wales), Liam Squire (Retired) 

Coach Tony Brown: "We're really looking forward to taking on Super Rugby Pacific with this team, we have some good experience up front, good playmakers in the backs, and good size and pace mixed throughout the squad.

"It's going to be a short pre-season, so it's good to have so many guys familiar with how we do things returning in 2022. We will obviously need to hit the ground running."

Moana Pasifika

Coach Aaron Mauger
Coach Aaron Mauger Photo credit: Photosport

Hookers - Ray Niuia, Sam Moli, Luteru Tolai 

Props - Sekope Kepu, Isileli Tuungafasi, Joe Apikatoa, Tau Koloamatangi, Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Chris Apoua 

Locks - Don Lolo, Mike McKee, Veikoso Poliniati, Alex McRobbie 

Loose Forwards - Henry Stowers, Jack Lam, Sione Tuipulotu, Solomone Funaki, Penitoa Finau, Lotu Inisi, Sam Slade, Alamanda Motuga 

Halfbacks - Ereatara Enari, Jonathan Taumateine, Manu Paea 

First-fives - Christian Lealifano, Lincoln McClutchie, William Havili 

Midfield: Levi Aumua, Danny Toala, Henry Taefu, Fine Inisi 

Outside Backs - Lolagi Visinia, Neria Fomai, Tomasi Alosio, Solomone Kata, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Tima Fainga'anuku, Anzelo Tuituvuki