Trade winds: Who's on the move in 2017?

Super Rugby
Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis

What changes is your Super Rugby club making for the 2017 season? looks at which players are leaving, where they’re going and even look at the rumours at each club..


Arriving: Saia Fainga’a (Reds) , Chris Alcock (Force), Lolo Fakaosilea (Reds)

The Brumbies will welcome Saia Fainga’a into their squad on a two-year deal in somewhat of a club swap with departing hooker Stephen Moore. With big names leaving in 2017, the Brumbies have looked to beef up in the back row as well, with Chris Alcock and Lolo Fakaosilea will join the Brumbies as cover for David Pocock.

Departing: Stephen Moore (Reds), Matt Toomua (Leicester), Joe Tomane (Montpellier), David Pocock (sabbatical), Albert Anae, Michael Wells (Waratahs), Michael Dowsett (TBA), Ita Vaea (retired)

Joe Tomane will link up with Nemani Nadolo and Jake White at Montpellier. Photo: Getty Images

The Brumbies are set to lose key personnel in 2017, led by current Brumbies and Wallabies captain Stephen Moore who is returning to his first home, the Reds. Matt Toomua has also signed a three-year deal with English Premiership side Leicester, while Joe Tomane is off to Montpellier and David Pocock will take a sabbatical for the 2017 season.

Rumours: Kyle Godwin, Anthony Fainga’a

There has been a lot of talk that Kyle Godwin will join the Brumbies in 2017 in search of a clean rugby slate, while Anthony Fainga’a will join the Kintetsu Liners in the Japanese Top League but has also been rumoured to be reuniting with twin brother Saia at the Brumbies.


Arriving: Ben Daley (Reds), Bill Meakes (Gloucester), Ben Matwijow (Reds)

Former Australia U20s representative Bill Meakes has signed his first Super Rugby contract. Photo: Getty Images

The Western Force have been busy in recent week, with a number of new faces coming to Perth.  Former Queensland Reds players Ben Daley and Ben Matwijow will join the Force after a short stint in New Zealand’s ITM Cup. The Force have also signed for Australia U20s representative Bill Meakes to his first Super Rugby contract after he was granted an early release from English Premiership club Glouster. Expect more signings to follow once the Force confirm their head coach for 2017.

Departing: Steve Mafi (Castres), Kyle Godwin (TBA), Rory Walton (TBA), Guy Millar (TBA), Chris Alcock (Brumbies)

Steve Mafi announced he was joining Top 14 side Castres in May while interim coach Dave Wessels confirmed the departure of Godwin, Alcock, Walton and Millar following the Force’s loss to the Brumbies in the final round. Their new homes are yet to be confirmed.

Rumours: Alby Mathewson, Junior Rasolea, Ollie Hoskins, Chris Heiberg, Albert Nikoro, Tom Sexton, Brad Lacey, Nathan Charles

There are a lot of rumours circling that the Force are set for a list cleanout next season, with up to 12 players believed to be weighing up their options.


Arriving: Marika Koroibete (Melbourne Storm), Pama Fou (Australian Sevens) Jack Maddocks (Australia U20s), Jack McGregor , Tyrel Lomax (Australia U20s), Alex Toolis (Edinburgh)

Fijian-flyer Marika Koroibete will cross codes in 2017. Photo: Getty Images

The Rebels will have and influx of young talent next season, with  2016 Australia U20s representatives Jack Maddocks and Tyrel Lomax joining the Melbourne-based side for 2017 along with Australian schoolboys star Jack McGregor. They’ll also add some strike power out wide with Melbourne Storm flyer Marika Koroibete and Aussie Sevens gun Pama Fou coming on board.

Departing: Luke Jones (Bordeaux), Mike Harris (Lyon), Tamati Ellison (TBA)

The Rebels will lose a wealth of experience next season with foundation Rebel Luke Jones and Mike Harris both off to the French Top 14, while former All Black Tamati Ellison will depart the Rebels after three years.


Arriving: George Smith (Wasps), Stephen Moore (Brumbies), Leroy Houston (Bath)

George Smith will return to Australian Rugby for the first time since 2013. Photo: Getty Images

George Smith looks set to finish off his rugby career at the Reds after agreeing to a two-year deal. Stephen Moore will bolster the Reds front row, back at Ballymore after eight seasons in Canberra. 2011 Super Rugby champion Leroy Houston has signed with the Reds until the end of 2018 in search of his first Wallabies cap. 

Departing: Greg Holmes (Exeter), Liam Gill (Toulon), Saia Fainga’a (Brumbies), Anthony Fainga’a (Kintestsu Liners), Ayumu Goromaru (Toulon), Curtis Browning (Lyon), Ben Matwijow (Force), Jake Schatz (TBA), Lolo Fakaosilea (Brumbies), Scott Gale, Sam Greene(Toyota Industries shuttles), Jamie-Jerry Taualagi (Munakata Sanix Blues)

12 players have announced they are leaving the Reds including 2011 Super Rugby champions Greg Holmes, Liam Gill, Saia Fainga’a Anthony Fainga’a and Jack Schatz. Gill’s loss will likely be the one most keenly felt but the biggest void could also come from the departure of Holmes, who leaves after 12 years with Queensland.

Rumours: Quade Cooper

The Reds confirmed this week that Nick Stiles would coach the Reds for the next two seasons, leaving them to focus on their next task of bringing home Quade Cooper. Cooper has committed to Australian Rugby for the next three years but is reportedly waiting on the Reds to announce their coach before choosing a Super Rugby club. The Rebels are also interested in the creative flyhalf.


Arriving: Taqele Naiyaravoro (Glasgow), Sekope Kepu (Bordeaux), Michael Wells (Brumbies)

Two signings we already knew about, Naiyaravoro and Kepu returned to the Waratahs following overseas stints with Glasgow and Bordeaux respectively. Both players committed to the Waratahs prior to the Wallabies June series, making them eligible for the Wallabies immediately. Former Sevens player and Brumbies backrower Michael Wells is also set to join the Tahs in 2017.

The Waratahs will lose close to 700 caps of experience. Photo: Getty Images

Departing: Kurtley Beale (Wasps), Zac Guildford (Tasman), Dave Dennis (Exeter), Benn Robinson (retired), Matt Carraro (TBA), Jeremy Tilse (TBA), Wycliff Palu (TBA)

The Waratahs are set to lose just under 700 caps of Super Rugby experience with Beale and Dennis both off to the English Premiership, Guildford returning to New Zealand and Carraro, Tilse and Palu yet to confirm whether retirement or a change of team is next for them.

Rumours: Tatafu Polota-Nau

Waratahs hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau is reportedly weighing up his future in rugby, with the possibility of heading overseas to finish off his career after 11 seasons with NSW.