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No Sonny Bill but Chiefs keep core of champion squad

Date
The Chiefs will be without Sonny Bill Williams for their title defence in 2013.

The Chiefs will be without Sonny Bill Williams for their title defence in 2013. Photo: Getty Images

WELLINGTON: A couple of crowd favourites make way but otherwise the core of the Chiefs squad who secured a maiden Super Rugby title in 2012 have been retained for next year.

Coach Dave Rennie has retained 22 players in announcing his 32-man squad on Wednesday, with former All Blacks lock Ross Filipo the most surprising of the four recruits picked up in player draft negotiations on Tuesday.

Filipo, 33, has returned from a stint in Europe and showed enough form in the NPC for Wellington to earn a draft contract along with Canterbury winger Patrick Osborne and two young front-rowers - Wellington prop Solomona Sakalia and Taranaki hooker Rhys Marshall.

Rennie's big-name departures are outstanding All Blacks inside centre Sonny Bill Williams to Japanese club rugby and French-bound prop Sona Taumalolo, whose nine tries this year were a record for a Super Rugby forward.

Others not returning are wingers Maritano Namani and Declan O'Donnell, centre Jackson Willison, loose forwards Alex Bradley and Scott Waldrom and prop Shane Cleaver.

Off-season signings already announced are Hurricanes outside back Charlie Ngatai, Blues five-eighth Gareth Anscombe and Highlanders flanker Nick Crosswell.

Three other squad members - inside centre Bundee Aki, halfback August Pulu and prop Josh Hohneck - were part of the wider training squad last season, with Pulu and Hohneck earning game time.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs have confirmed their schedule of eight home matches, which includes six at Hamilton's Waikato Stadium.

Tauranga will host the March 30 fixture against the Blues while Pukekohe will host the Western Force on May 10.

There will be a pre-season match against the Highlanders in Taupo on February 2.

Chiefs squad:

Backs: Robbie Robinson, Tim Nanai-Williams, Lelia Masaga, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Patrick Osborne, Andrew Horrell, Richard Kahui, Charlie Ngatai, Bundee Aki, Aaron Cruden, Gareth Anscombe, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Brendon Leonard, Augustine Pulu

Forwards: Fritz Lee, Tanerau Latimer, Sam Cane, Liam Messam, Nick Crosswell, Brodie Retallick, Craig Clarke, Romana Graham, Mike Fitzgerald, Ross Filipo, Ben Afeaki, Toby Smith, Ben Tameifuna, Josh Hohneck, Solomona Sakalia, Mahonri Schwalger, Hika Elliot, Rhys Marshall

AAP

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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