There is a settled look about this Hurricanes squad. Chris Boyd continues as coach, having started in this role back in 2015, giving continuity to the coaching team, which includes John Plumtree, Clark Laidlaw, and Richard Watt. All three have worked together since 2015 and they have a common approach to the game and great understanding amongst themselves.
Fifteen of the 2017 squad have left, with the likes of Pita Ahki, Callum Gibbins, Toa Halafihi, and Loni Uhila all heading for Europe and the United Kingdom, while James Broadhurst has retired. Mark Abbott has gone to Japan, as has Cory Jane. Leni Apisai, and Otere Black have joined Tana Umaga’s Blues, while Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi has joined the Chiefs.
There are eleven new faces including three Super rookies and a Wallaby test player in the squad.
New All Blacks hooker Asafo Aumua, prop Alex Fidow and lock Isaia Walker-Leawere are the three Super Rugby rookies. They were all members of the New Zealand Under 20s side in 2017, and have come through from within the Hurricanes youth system. There are three other uncapped Super players in the 38-man squad, Peter Umaga-Jensen, TJ Va’a, and Jonah Lowe. These three were all members of the 2017 Hurricanes squad but did not play a Super game.
Six-cap Wallaby prop Toby Smith, who previously played for the Chiefs before heading across the ditch to join the Melbourne Rebels, is back in New Zealand and has joined the Canes, bringing almost 100 Super caps with him.
There are eleven 2017 All Blacks in the squad including the likes of Dane Coles, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett, Ngani Laumape, Jordie Barrett, Nehe Milner-Skudder, and Julian Savea
In addition to the established stars and those Super Rugby rookies there is a bunch of other players coming into the Hurricanes squad for the first time.
Rebels lock Murray Douglas and opensider Sam Henwood, and halfback Jamie Booth, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Ihaia West from the Blues, and former Highlanders loose forward Gareth Evans.
This is a powerful Hurricanes outfit, and we can expect them to be contenders come the end of the season.
The Hurricanes Squad for 2018 is:
Forwards: Asafo Aumua, Dane Coles, Ricky Riccitelli, Chris Eves, Alex Fidow, Reg Goodes, Ben May, Toby Smith, Jeffery To’omaga-Allen, James Blackwell, Murray Douglas, Michael Fatialofa, Sam Lousi, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Gareth Evans, Vaea Fifita, Sam Henwood, Reed Prinsep, Ardie Savea, Brad Shields, Blade Thomson
Backs: Jamie Booth, Finlay Christie, TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett, Jackson Garden-Bachop, TJ Va’a, Ihaia West, Vince Aso, Ngani Laumape, Matt Proctor, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Jordie Barrett, Wes Goosen, Ben Lam, Jonah Lowe, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Julian Savea
Changes to the squad are as follows:
Asafo Aumua (Wellington)
Jamie Booth (Manawatu)
Finlay Christie (Chiefs)
Murray Douglas (Rebels)
Gareth Evans (Highlanders)
Alex Fidow (Wellington)
Jackson Garden-Bachop (Rebels)
Sam Henwood (Counties Manukau)
Johan Lowe (Hawke’s Bay)
Toby Smith (Rebels)
TJ Va’a (Wellington)
Isaia Walker-Leawere (Wellington)
Ihaia West (Blues)
Mark Abbott (Red Sparks)
Pita Ahki (Connacht)
Leni Apisai (Blues)
Otere Black (Blues)
James Broadhurst (retired)
Geoffrey Cridge (Hawke’s Bay)
Callum Gibbins (Glasgow)
Toa Halafihi (Lyon)
Cory Jane (Brave Lupus)
James O’Reilly (Wellington)
Kylem O’Donnell (Taranaki)
Hugh Renton (Hawke’s Bay)
Chris Smylie (North Harbour)
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Chiefs)
Loni Uhila (Clermont)