The New Zealand Super Rugby franchises have announced their squads for the 2013 season, with some high-profile movements setting up another competitive conference.
The reigning champion Chiefs have seven new faces including All Black lock Ross Filipo and the promising Gareth Anscombe.
The Highlanders have brought in a number of All Black stars as they seek to challenge for a spot in the play-offs next year.
The forward pack will be bolstered by the experience of Brad Thorn and Tony Woodcock who have played a combined total of 151 tests for the All Blacks and 205 Super Rugby matches. Also joining the big men up front are Liam Coltman, Brayden Mitchell, Joe Wheeler and Jake Paringatai.
The back division includes marquee signing Ma'a Nonu from the Blues. Nonu will join a backline that includes All Blacks Aaron Smith, Tamati Ellison, Hosea Gear, Colin Slade and Ben Smith. Other new faces include: Jason Emery, Declan O'Donnell, Hayden Parker, Buxton Popoalii and Fumiaki Tanaka.
The Blues may have endured a tough season in 2012, but new coach John Kirwan is confident that they will be able to turn things around next year.
"We have several young and exciting players joining our mix. Pairing them up with our senior players and those who have a few Super Rugby campaigns under their belt, makes for an exciting combination," said Kirwan.
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder named a squad with nine new faces and twenty three players returning from the 2012 Crusaders squad.
Four of the new faces - Dominic Bird, Johnny McNicholl, Joe Moody and Codie Taylor - were part of the Crusaders’ wider training group for the 2012 season. All four players have also been a part of the Canterbury squad that took out the NPC competition last weekend.
Blackadder said they are players who have really shown their worth and their commitment to this region: "We recognised last season that these were players with real promise, and all of them have really proven themselves both as part of the Crusaders' wider training group and particularly in the important contributions they all made to the Canterbury ITM Cup team this year."
The Hurricanes revealed eight new names in their squad, as they look to build on a promising showing from their young team in 2012.
The new recruits include All Black Ben Franks, Wellington and New Zealand Under-20 representatives Matt Proctor and Eric Sione, Tongan halfback Samisoni Fisilau, Taranaki and last year’s wider training group members James Marshall and Blade Thomson, Wellington and former NZ Sevens player Ardie Savea, and Rey Lee-Lo from the ITM Cup Championship winning Counties Manukau team.
Blues squad: Kane Barrett, Anthony Boric, Luke Braid, Charlie Faumuina, Malakai Fekitoa, Jamison Gibson-Park, Frank Halai, Bryn Hall, Baden Kerr, Steven Luatua, Quentin MacDonald, Tom McCartney, Marty McKenzie, Keven Mealamu, George Moala, Liaki Moli, Waisake Naholo, Chris Noakes, Brendon O'Connor, James Parsons, Tim Perry, Charles Piutau, Ronald Raaymakers, Rene Ranger, Culum Retallick, Francis Saili, Peter Saili, Angus Ta'avao, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Piri Weepu, Ali Williams, Jackson Willison.
Hurricanes squad: James Broadhurst, Beauden Barrett, Dane Coles, Tim Bateman, Jason Eaton, Samisoni Fisilau, Ben Franks, Cory Jane, Reggie Goodes, Rey Lee-Lo, Jack Lam, Alapati Leuia, Faifili Levave, James Marshall, Karl Lowe, TJ Perenara, Motu Matu'u, Tusi Pisi, Ben May, Matt Proctor, Mark Reddish, Julian Savea, Ardie Savea, Conrad Smith, Brad Shields, Chris Smylie, Eric Sione, Andre Taylor, Blade Thomson, Jeremy Thrush, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Victor Vito.
Chiefs squad: Tim Nanai-Williams, Andrew Horrell, Robbie Robinson, Lelia Masaga, Patrick Osborne, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Bundee Aki, Richard Kahui, Charlie Ngatai, Gareth Anscombe, Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Brendon Leonard, August Pulu, Fritz Lee, Sam Cane, Nick Crosswell, Ross Filipo, Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam, Craig Clarke, Mike Fitzgerald, Romana Graham, Brodie Retallick, Ben Afeaki, Josh Hohneck, Toby Smith, Solomona Sakalia, Ben Tameifuna, Hika Elliot, Rhys Marshall, Mahonri Schwalger.
Crusaders squad: Dominic Bird, Tyler Bleyendaal, Dan Carter, Shane Christie, Wyatt Crockett, Ryan Crotty, Israel Dagg, Tom Donnelly, Andy Ellis, Corey Flynn, Owen Franks, Robbie Fruean, Ben Funnell, Zac Guildford, Willi Heinz, Nepo Laulala, Tom Marshall, Richie McCaw, Johnny McNicholl, Joe Moody, Kieran Read, Luke Romano, Jeremy Su'a, Jordan Taufua, Codie Taylor, Tom Taylor, Matt Todd, Jimmy Tupou, Adam Whitelock, George Whitelock, Luke Whitelock, Sam Whitelock.
Highlanders squad: Josh Bekhuis, Tim Boys, Liam Coltman, Elliot Dixon, Ma'afu Fia, John Hardie, Jarrad Hoeata, Andrew Hore, Chris King, Jamie Mackintosh, Nasi Manu, Brayden Mitchell, Jake Paringatai, Brad Thorn, Joe Wheeler, Tony Woodcock, Phil Burleigh, Tamati Ellison, Jason Emery, Hosea Gear, Ma'a Nonu, Declan O'Donnell, Kade Poki, Hayden Parker, Buxton Popoalii, Colin Slade, Aaron Smith, Ben Smith, Lima Sopoaga, Fumiaki Tanaka, Shaun Treeby.