Super Rugby clubs have today revealed their full rosters for the 2015 season, with some notable names both arriving and returning to Chiefs country.
Marty McKenzie will join the Chiefs alongside his brother Damian who signed a 3-year deal a few months ago. McKenzie was the standout 10 in this years ITM Cup, helping lead Taranaki to a national championship.
Sonny Bill Williams and Hosea Gear are the big returns which will boost the Chiefs back line, with Williams back after two years in the NRL with the Roosters and Gear returning to New Zealand after stints in Japan and France.
Loose forward and New Zealand born Japanese national captain Michael Leitch also returns to the Chiefs for 2015.
Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie is satisfied with the 2015 squad and is happy that such a high number of the players have come up through the Chiefs rugby development programme and are ready to tackle rugby at the next level.
“We expect this group of hard working men to play a brand of Chiefs rugby that is entertaining for people to watch”.
If Rennie gets his wish, the Chiefs will play a very exciting and widespread form of rugby in 2015 that revolves more around running the ball than a kicking based game. With players like Sonny Bill Williams at centre, and Hosea Gear on the wing, breaking the defensive line will be done by running up the guts hard and fast, while players like Damien McKenzie will be given chances at 10 in a clear playmakers role.
Marty McKenzie’s arrival in the Chiefs is a big surprise from this mornings announcement, but is sure to be given a shot in the run on squad at some point after such a blockbuster season with ITM Cup champions Taranaki.
There are three halfbacks in the Chiefs roster for 2015. Augustine Pulu, Brad Weber, and Lean Fukofuka.
The Chiefs squad assembles for pre season camp on November 27th.
Full Chiefs 2015 squad:
Ben Afeaki – Prop (North Harbour)
Michael Allardice* – Lock (Hawkes Bay)
Johan Bardoul* – Loose forward (Bay of Plenty)
Sam Cane – Loose forward (Bay of Plenty)
Aaron Cruden – First Five-eighth (Manawatu)
Mike Fitzgerald – Lock (Manawatu)
Leon Fukofuka* – Halfback (Auckland)
Hosea Gear* – Winger (Chiefs)
Mitchell Graham* – Prop (Taranaki)
Nathan Harris – Hooker (Bay of Plenty)
Bryce Heem* – Winger (Tasman)
Andrew Horrell – Utility back (Hawkes Bay)
Tevita Koloamatangi – Loose forward (Tasman)
Michael Leitch – Loose forward (Chiefs)
Anton Lienert-Brown – Midfield (Waikato)
James Lowe – Winger (Tasman)
Pauliasi Manu – Prop (Counties Manukau)
Tom Marshall – Utility back (Tasman)
Rhys Marshall – Hooker (Taranaki)
Damian McKenzie – First five-eighth/fullback (Waikato)
Quentin MacDonald* – Hooker (Tasman)
Jamie MackIntosh – Prop (Southland)
Marty McKenzie* – fullback/first five-eighth (Taranaki)
Liam Messam – Loose forward (Waikato)
Charlie Ngatai – Midfield/fullback (Taranaki)
Sean Polwart *– Loose forward (Auckland)
Brodie Retallick – Lock (Bay of Plenty)
Augustine Pulu – Halfback (Counties Manukau)
Toni Pulu* – Winger (Counties Manukau)
Liam Squire – Loose forward (Tasman)
Matt Symons – Lock (Canterbury)
Seta Tamanivalu* – Midfield (Taranaki)
Ben Tameifuna – Prop (Waikato)
Siate Tokolahi* – Prop (Canterbury)
Maama Vaipulu* – Loose forward (Counties Manukau)
Brad Weber – Halfback (Waikato)
Sonny Bill Williams – Midfield (Counties Manukau)
Tim Nanai-Williams – Utility Back (Counties Manukau)
* new to Chiefs squad