The return of Wallaby George Smith to Super Rugby is one of the key storylines for the Australia Conference in 2017. He represented the Wallabies on 111 occasions and is still one of the top flankers in the game.
Former Brumbies flanker Smith has returned from the UK and Japan to join the Reds where he will play alongside fellow veterans Stephen Moore (from Brumbies) and Scott Higginbotham (from NEC Green Rockets, Japan). Smith proved very popular playing with Wasps and in 2016 he was the winner of the UK Rugby Players Association ‘Player’s Player of the Year’.
Forwards: Alex Mafi, Stephen Moore, Andrew Ready, Kane Douglas, Cadeyrn Neville, Izack Rodda, Rob Simmons, Lukhan Tui, Michael Gunn, Reece Hewat, Scott Higginbotham, Leroy Houston Adam Korczyk, George Smith, Caleb Timu, Hendrik Tui
Backs: Nick Frisby, Moses Sorovi, James Tuttle, Quade Cooper, Jake McIntyre, Samu Kerevi, Campbell Magnay, Duncan Paia'aua, Henry Taefu, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Karmichael Hunt, Chris Kuridrani, Lachlan Maranta, Jayden Ngamanu Eto Nabuli, Izaia Perese.
The Waratahs have named a 35-man squad that includes eight new faces, including Aussie Sevens star Cam Clark and Queensland U20s playmaker Mack Mason, who helped the national U20s to a win over New Zealand in May.
Three NRC players have been added to the contracted list in prop Sam Needs, hooker Damien Fitzpatrick and the competition’s player of the year, centre Irae Simone.
Next year’s squad will miss plenty of star power, with Kurtley Beale, Dave Dennis, Tatafu Polota-Nau and the franchise’s most capped player, Benn Robinson, all absent from the 2017 roster.
Forwards: Sekope Kepu, Sam Needs, Tom Robertson, Paddy Ryan, Matt Sandell, Angus Ta'avao, Damien Fitzpatrick, Tolu Latu, Hugh Roach, Ned Hanigan, Ryan McCauley, Dean Mumm, Will Skelton, Senio Toleafoa, Jack Dempsey, Jed Holloway, Michael Hooper, Michael Wells, Brad Wilkin.
Backs: Jake Gordon, Matt Lucas Nick Phipps, Andrew Deegan, Bernard Foley, Bryce Hegarty, Mack Mason, Israel Folau, Irae Simone, Rob Horne, David Horwitz, Cameron Clark, Harry Jones, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Andrew Kellaway, Reece Robinson.
The Rebels finalised their 2017 roster by signing New Zealand youngster Jackson Garden-Bachop.
Garden-Bachop is the son of former All Black Stephen Bachop and the nephew of Graeme Bachop and starred with the Wellington Lions in the Mitre 10 Cup.
Other key Rebels recruits include Marika Koroibete from the Melbourne Storm as well as U20s star Jack Maddocks.
Forwards: Cruze Ah-Nau, Steve Cummins, Dominic Day, Colby Fainga'a, Pama Fou, Harley Fox, James Hanson, Sam Jeffries, Pat Leafa, Rob Leota, Tyrel Lomax, Sean McMahon, Tim Metcher, Tom Moloney, Jordy Reid, Culum Retallick, Siliva Siliva, Toby Smith, Lopeti Timani, Alex Toolis, Jordan Uelese, Laurie Weeks.
Backs: Jack Debreczeni, Tom English, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Reece Hodge, Mitch Inman, Marika Koroibete, Jack Maddocks, Ben Meehan, Sefa Naivalu, Jonah Placid, Dominic Shipperley, Mick Snowden, Nic Stirzaker, Amanaki Mafi, Jack McGregor, Sione Tuipulotu.
The Brumbies squad has a core group of Australian stars, including Tevita Kuridrani, Scott Sio, Rory Arnold, Scott Fardy, Ben Alexander, Henry Speight, Sam Carter and Allan Alaalatoa, but also contains plenty of local talent.
Prop Faalelei Sione from Royals, inside-centre Jordan Jackson-Hope (Tuggeranong) and scrum-half Ryan Lonergan (Tuggeranong) have made the step-up to the elite level and will be pushing hard for game time.
Newcomers to the squad include the return of the Fainga’a twins to the club where they started their professional career, prop Nic Mayhew from the Blues, full-back Tom Banks (Queensland), flanker Chris Alcock, who joins from the Force alongside highly promising centre Kyle Godwin, who made his Wallabies debut against France recently, and Australian Sevens Star Tom Cusack.
Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa, Ben Alexander, Leslie Leulua'iali'i-Makin, Nic Mayhew, Scott Sio, Faalelei Sione, Robbie Abel, Saia Fainga'a, Josh Mann-Rea, Rory Arnold, Sam Carter, Blake Enever, Tom Staniforth, Chris Alcock, Jarrad Butler, Tom Cusack, Lolo Fakaosilea, Scott Fardy, Ben Hyne, Jordan Smiler, Rob Valetini.
Backs: Tomás Cubelli, Ryan Lonergan, Joe Powell, Anthony Fainga'a, Kyle Godwin, Jordan Jackson-Hope, Nick Jooste, Christian Lealiifano, Nigel Ah Wong, James Dargaville, Tevita Kuridrani, Andrew Smith, Henry Speight, Lausii Taliauli, Tom Banks, Aidan Toua.
The Western Force have confirmed a 36-man squad for the 2017 Super Rugby season, which includes 14 new signings.
Among the new faces are 68-time capped Wallaby Tatafu Polota-Nau, former Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs rugby league star Curtis Rona, 80-time Super Rugby capped utility back Robbie Coleman and former Gloucester (UK) centre Bill Meakes.
2016 Western Force debutants Richard Hardwick, Harry Scoble, Anaru Rangi and Matt Philip have all been upgraded to the senior group after impressing when called upon last season.
Overall the club has retained 22 players from the 2016 Super Rugby squad with Heath Tessmann, Angus Cottrell, newly capped Wallaby Adam Coleman and club legend Matt Hodgson all re-signing with the club.
Forwards: Jermaine Ainsley, Richard Arnold, Adam Coleman, Angus Cottrell, Pek Cowan, Ben Daley, Tetera Faulkner, Richard Hardwick, Ross Haylett-Petty, Matt Hodgson, Kane Koteka, Ben Matwijow, Ben McCalman, Isi Naisarani, Matt Philip, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Anaru Rangi, Harry Scoble, Brynard Stander, Heath Tessmann, Francios van Wyk, Shambeckler Vui.
Backs: Marcel Brache, Luke Burton, Robbie Coleman, Peter Grant, Dane Haylett-Petty, Jono Lance, Ryan Louwrens, Semisi Masirewa, Bill Meakes, Luke Morahan, Chance Peni, Ian Prior, Curtis Rona, Michael Ruru.