Class of 1995 a dominant presence in New Zealand's Super Rugby squads

Posted by On 11:53 PM

Class of 1995 a dominant presence in New Zealand's Super Rugby squads

Class of 1995 a dominant presence in New Zealand's Super Rugby squads

Damian McKenzie is one of 34 New Zealand Super Rugby players born in 1995.
HAGEN HOPKINS/GETTY IMAGESDamian McKenzie is one of 34 New Zealand Super Rugby players born in 1995.

The class of 1995 are coming for Super Rugby, with a whopping 34 players in next year's squads born that year.

That's more than were born in 1993 (19) and 1994 (13) combined. There were 23 born in 1991, 20 in 1996, 19 in 1997, and 17 in 1992.

All Blacks Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown, Damian McKenzie and Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi are the standouts of the 1995 crop so far.

Others of note include Vince As o, Otere Black, George Bridge, Wes Goosen, Akira Ioane, Atu Moli and Reuben O'Neill.

Many of those born in 1995 were members of the New Zealand under-20 team that won the world title in 2015, ending a three-year drought, which perhaps explains why so many of them are in Super Rugby compared to those born in 1994, 1993 and 1992.

ALL BLACKS DOMINATE 80s CONTINGENT

Led by 36-year-old Ma'a Nonu, who is returning to the Blues, there are 25 players born in the 1980s spread among the five franchise, making up 13 per cent of the total player pool.

The Crusaders have 10, including several established All Blacks, while the Highlanders have six, the Hurricanes five, the Blues three, and the Chiefs just one - prop Kane Hames.

Seventeen of those 25 players have played for the All Blacks, with most of them still in the frame.

Hurricanes prop Ben May joins Nonu in being born in 1982, and is one of the eight who have never played international rugby, with Marty Banks, Tim Bateman, Richard Buckman, Ash Dixon, Chris Eves, James Marshall and Toby Smith the others.

Ma'a Nonu is the oldest player on a New Zealand Super Rugby team.
GETTY IMAGESMa'a Nonu is the oldest player on a New Zealand Super Rugby team.

THIRTEEN PROVINCES REPRESENTED

Auckland beat Canterbury in the Mitre 10 Cup final last month, so it should come as no surprise that those two provinces will have the most players in Super Rugby next year.

Canterbury have 28, 21 of whom will play for the Crusaders, while Auckland have 22, 17 of whom will play for the Blues.

Taranaki, Tasman and Wellington each have 18, while Hawke's Bay, North Harbour, and Waikato each have 12.

At the other end of the sc ale, hapless Southland, owners of a 21-game losing streak, have contributed no-one to Super Rugby, though if you're feeling generous, you could spot them Elliot Dixon, who skipped this year's Mitre 10 Cup for a season in Japan.

Northland have six players, Bay of Plenty seven, Counties Manukau and Otago nine, and Manawatu 10, while nine players - including Dixon - didn't play provincial rugby in New Zealand at all.

YOUNG GUNS EMERGE

A year from now, it's likely we will be talking about the first Kiwi Super Rugby player to be born in the 21st century.

As things stands, it's five players born in 1999 who catch the eye - one at each franchise.

Winger Etene Nanai-Seturo began the year in the middle of a public spat between the Warriors and NZ Rugby after leaving the NRL club to play sevens for New Zealand, but he has finished it in the Chiefs squad.

Another winger, Leicester Faingaanuku, was tied down by the Tasman Mako while still at Nelson College, and has moved up to the Crusaders after his first year of provincial rugby.

Blues back Caleb Clarke is one of five 1999-born players in New Zealand's Super Rugby squads.
PHIL WALTER/GETTY IMAGESBlues back Caleb Clarke is one of five 1999-born players in New Zealand's Super Rugby squads.

The Hurricanes have signed Billy Proctor to an unprecedented five-year deal, which shows how highly they rate him. He and brother Matt are one of seven sets of siblings among the Kiwi squads.

Hawke's Bay halfback Folau Fakatava has gone south to the Highlanders, where he will be competing with Kayne Hammington to be Aaron Smith's backup.

As for Blues youngster Caleb Clarke, well, he's the senior figur e in this group, with two seasons of Mitre 10 Cup and five Super Rugby games under his belt already.

Stuff

Source: Google News New Zealand | Netizen 24 New Zealand

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