Big stars and rookies headline confirmed Super Rugby Pacific squads

Thu, Nov 9, 2023, 9:42 PM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Ben Donaldson & Nic White will reform their Wallabies partnership for the Force. Photo: Getty Images
Ben Donaldson & Nic White will reform their Wallabies partnership for the Force. Photo: Getty Images

All 12 teams have announced their squads ahead of Super Rugby Pacific 2024.

The rolling day of squad announcements served as a reminder for fans of the plethora of players to switch clubs in 2024.


Melbourne Rebels prop Taniela Tupou is the biggest transfer, heading down to 'Burn City to form one of the strongest front-row groups in the competition that includes Wallabies Pone Fa’amausili, Matt Gibbon, Sam Talakai and cult hero Cabous Eloff.

Recruits Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Jack Maunder provide international quality in positions of need. Rob Leota will finally get the chance to lead out the Rebels after an ACL injury derailed his 2023 campaign.

The NSW Waratahs' recruitment strategy focused on bringing Australians back home, with giant lock Miles Amatosero and versatile forward Fergus Lee-Warner adding value to the back.

Wallaby Angus Bell is almost a new signing in itself after his 2023 season was limited to 20 minutes along with luckless playmaker Will Harrison, who hasn't featured since April 2022.

The Western Force have gone for big-name signings, recruiting Wallabies duo Nic White and Ben Donaldson along with Waratahs standout Will Harris.

These names will grab headlines but it’s the astute signing of fullback Harry Potter that could end up being the best value, starring in their four-match series against the Cheetahs.

The Queensland Reds have added experience in the forwards, with 14 internationally capped players included in a squad with an average age of 24 years old.

Continuity is key for the ACT Brumbies as over 30 players return from last year, with Waratahs scrum half Harrison Goddard the only external addition as Stephen Larkham promotes from within.

For the Kiwis, there’s been a plethora of established All Blacks heading overseas with Ardie Savea, Beauden Barrett, Sam Cane, Richie Mo’unga and Aaron Smith departing their clubs.

Welsh duo Leigh Halfpenny (Crusaders) and Rhys Patchell (Highlanders) will get their first test of Super Rugby as legendary winger Julian Savea serves as the headline recruit for a Moana Pasifika side that has recruited close to 20 fresh faces.

Within these teams are a litany of Super Rugby rookies ready to take the next step in a similar vein to Max Jorgensen, Corey Toole and Tom Lynagh. Junior Wallabies halves Teddy Wilson and Jack Bowen will put pressure on the established Waratahs stars, playmaker Harry McLaughlin-Phillips, player of the match in the Reds’ narrow trial win over Panasonic Wild Knights.

McLaughlin-Philips is one of 11 Super Rugby rookies in Les Kiss’ first squad, with the likes of Irish U20s lock Cormac Daly, barnstorming back-rower John Bryant and impressive prop Massimo de Lutiis looking strong in last week’s trial.

Centre Henry O’Donnell was the major revelation from the return of a complete U20s international schedule and will likely contest for a spot in the Force’s 23 if his growth continues. 

At the Rebels, Darby Lancaster is looking to translate his Sevens success, adding excitement to the backs along with Divad Palu and David Vaihu.

Meanwhile, in the nation's capital, Klayton Thorn will contest Harrison Goddard to be the understudy to Ryan Lonergan.

For those experienced or not, Super Rugby Pacific looms as the perfect platform to impress with Australia, New Zealand and Fiji entering next year with new national head coaches.