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Super Rugby Pacific 2024: Predicted finish for every Australian team

By AAP
Waratahs captain Jake Gordon, Brumbies captain Allan Alaalatoa, Rebels captain Rob Leota, Force captain Michael Wells and Reds captain Tate McDermott at the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific Season Launch on February 14, 2024 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Dave Rowland/Getty Images for Rugby Australia)

A guide to the Australian teams in the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season:

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ACT Brumbies

2023 finish: 3rd

Projected 2024 finish: 3rd

Major gains: Halfback Harrrison Goddard (LA Gilitinis), centre Austin Anderson (Waikato).

Major losses: Halfback Nic White (Force), Pete Samu (Bordeaux), fullback Jesse Mogg (retired), centre Chris Feauai-Sautia (released).

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Talking point: This season could be the making of halfback Ryan Lonergan, who gets to call all the shots following the departure of veteran Nic White to Perth, while also slated to take over as captain.

Melbourne Rebels

2023 finish: 10th

Projected 2024 finish: 11th

Major gains: Prop Taniela Tupou (Reds), lock Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (Northampton), halfback Jack Maunder (Exeter), Jake Strachan (Force), centre/winger Filipo Daugunu (Reds), centre Matt Proctor (Northampton), winger Darby Lancaster (sevens), fullback Jake Strachan (Force).

Major losses: Utility back Reece Hodge (Bayonne), lock Trevor Hosea (Tokyo Sungoliath), lock Matt Philip (Yokohama Canon Eagles), winger Monty Ioane (Lyon), centre Stacey Ili (Hawke’s Bay), flanker Richard Hardwick (Ealing).

Talking point: With a beefed-up forward pack including Test prop Tupou and fresh speed out wide, can the Rebels perform with the financially-stricken club’s future hanging in the balance?

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Queensland Reds

2023 finish: 8th

Projected 2024 finish: 6th

Major gains: Prop Alex Hodgman (Blues), Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (Ulster), Joe Brial (Canterbury).

Major losses: Prop Taniela Tupou (Rebels), centre/winger Filipo Daugunu (Rebels), prop Dane Zander (Los Angeles), Lock Luke Jones (retired).

Talking point: Replacing coach Brad Thorn, Les Kiss has brought in two ex-All Blacks to cover the loss of prop Taniela Tupou while young playmaker Tom Lynagh should flourish with a season under his belt.

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NSW Waratahs

2023 finish: 6th

Projected 2024 finish: 10th

Major gains: Prop Tom Ross (Brumbies), prop Hayden Thompson-Stringer (La Rochelle), lock Miles Amatosero (Clermont), flanker Mesu Kunavula (Brive), back-rower Fergus Lee-Warner (Bath).

Major losses: Flanker Michael Hooper (sevens), five-eighth Ben Donaldson (Force), prop Nephi Leatigaga (Dax), back-rower Will Harris (Force), halfback Harrison Goddard (Brumbies), winger Nemani Nadolo (retired).

Talking point: The Waratahs have made the quarter-finals the past two seasons but coach Darren Coleman has reportedly being given a four-round deadline to show they are capable of a top-four berth.

Western Force

2023 finish: 10th

Projected 2024 finish: 7th

Major gains: Halfback Nic White (Brumbies), five-eighth Ben Donaldson (Waratahs), back-rower Will Harris (Waratahs), winger Harry Potter (Leicester), prop Atu Moli (Chiefs), lock Tom Franklin (Taranaki).

Major losses: Prop Tom Robertson (sabbatical), hooker Folau Fainga’a (Clermont), lock Jeremy Thrush (retired), back-rower Isi Naisarani (released), halfback Gareth Simpson (Saracens), five-eighth Bryce Hegarty (Red Hurricanes Osaka), fullback Jake Strachan (Rebels).

Talking point: Will the addition of Wallabies playmakers Ben Donaldson and Nic White be the extra ingredient that will see the cashed-up Force challenge the competition big guns?

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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