New Zealand's next generation of young stars, a splash of international talent and a strong core of established names are spread across the five Super Rugby squads named to contest the competition's 25th year.
No fewer than 46 'rookies', defined as those players who have signed their first full-time Super Rugby contracts, are among the 195 players contracted to the Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes for the 2020 season.
There are also nine international players with all five clubs fielding at least one, seven sets of siblings, and 11 players whose fathers also played Super Rugby.
Highlighting the strength of New Zealand Rugby's development pathway are eight players from the 2019 New Zealand under-20 squad – Dallas McLeod, Cullen Grace, Fergus Burke and Leicester Faingaanuku (Crusaders); Etene Nanai-Seturo, Quinn Tupaea (Chiefs); Devan Flanders (Hurricanes); and Scott Gregory (Highlanders). An additional 21 players have previously been part of the New Zealand under-20 programme.
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Lock Cullen Grace at the Crusaders will be the youngest player at 19 years old, while Hurricanes prop Ben May will be the oldest, at 37.
Nanai-Seturo and Gregory, along with Caleb Clarke (Blues) and Salesi Rayasi (Hurricanes), have put their names forward to join the All Blacks Sevens Olympic campaign next year, meaning the Chiefs, Highlanders, Blues and Hurricanes have been allowed to contract an extra player as cover for the 2020 season.
There are nine international recruits including thrice-capped England and Harlequins centre-wing Joe Marchant at the Blues, and former Sharks centre Kobus van Wyk, who joins the Hurricanes from South Africa.
Canadian captain Tyler Ardron returns from Rugby World Cup duties to the Chiefs, Tongan Rugby World Cup call-up Fetuli Paea joins the Crusaders, while former Australian under-20s representative Chris Kuridrani links up with the Highlanders.
Other international players include Samoa's Ray Niuia (Blues) and Kane Leaupepe (Hurricanes), Tonga's Zane Kapeli (Highlanders), and United States representative Tony Lamborn (Blues).
Family ties are as strong as ever. Rookies Isi Tuungafasi (Crusaders) and Connor Garden-Bachop (Highlanders) and the return of Peter Umaga-Jensen (Hurricanes) join the ranks of sibling sets which total seven in 2020.
Tuungafasi is the younger brother of Blues and All Blacks prop Ofa, Garden-Bachop is the younger brother of Hurricanes first five-eighth Jackson, while Umaga-Jensen's twin brother Thomas is a Highlander. The other twins are the Goodhue boys, Jack (Crusaders) and Josh (Blues).
Beauden Barrett's move to the Blues means the family's sibling rivalry now stretches across three clubs with Jordie at the Hurricanes and Scott with the Crusaders. Rieko and Akira Ioane (Blues); and the Lienert-Brown boys Anton (Chiefs) and Daniel (Highlanders) round out the seven sets of Super siblings.
New Zealand Rugby Chief Rugby Officer Nigel Cass congratulated all the players on their selection.
"The year following a Rugby World Cup inevitably creates opportunities for young players and we are fortunate that a large group of players have taken that chance with both hands.
"The Mitre 10 Cup has once again developed players to a high level and our New Zealand under-20 programme continues to deliver exceptional talent."
The mixture of youth and experience across the five squads was symbolic of how the competition had evolved during the past 25 years, Cass said.
"When you see there are 11 players in the 2020 squads whose father also played Super Rugby, you start to appreciate the competition's rich history.
"Like those players, many of our fans will have a deep connection to Super Rugby through attending matches with their parents, and now bringing their own children to the games.
"We've moved kick-off times forward to make the competition more accessible to families and we're looking forward to making more special memories as we celebrate 25 years with some exciting and entertaining rugby."
The 2020 Super Rugby season officially kicks off on 31 January.
The full squads are (with Super Rugby caps):
Hookers: Kurt Eklund (*), Ray Niuia (1), James Parsons (105). Props: Alex Hodgman (33), Ezekiel Lindenmuth (2), Sione Mafileo (41), Marcel Renata (8), Karl Tu'inukuafe (26), Ofa Tuungafasi (79). Locks: Gerard Cowley-Tuioti (43), Josh Goodhue (18), Jacob Pierce (2), Patrick Tuipulotu (67), Baden Wardlaw (*). Loose forwards: Blake Gibson (40), Akira Ioane (64), Tony Lamborn (4), Dalton Papalii (21), Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa (*), Tom Robinson (15), Hoskins Sotutu (1), James Tucker (*). Halfbacks: Finlay Christie (15), Sam Nock (22), Jonathan Ruru (27). First five-eighths: Beauden Barrett (125), Otere Black (36), Jack Heighton (*), Stephen Perofeta (15), Harry Plummer (16). Midfielders: TJ Faiane (30), Rieko Ioane (48), Joe Marchant (*), Tanielu Tele'a (9). Outside backs: Caleb Clarke (13), Matt Duffie (41), Jordan Hyland (7), Emoni Narawa (*), Jared Page (*), Mark Telea (*).
Hookers: Nathan Harris (58), Bradley Slater (2), Samisoni Taukei'aho (22). Props: Ryan Coxon (4), Nepo Laulala (64), Atu Moli (36), Reuben O'Neill (*), Aidan Ross (24), Angus Ta'avao (79). Locks: Naitoa Ah Kuoi (*), Tyler Ardron (26), Michael Allardice (40), Laghlan McWhannell (*). Loose forwards: Lachlan Boshier (42), Mitchell Brown (31), Sam Cane (111), Pita Gus Sowakula (15), Luke Jacobson (21), Mitchell Karpik (19), Dylan Nel (*). Halfbacks: Lisati Milo-Harris (*), Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (42), Brad Weber (71). First five-eighths: Aaron Cruden (114), Tiaan Falcon (3), Damian McKenzie (72), Kaleb Trask (*). Midfielders: Orbyn Leger (9), Anton Lienert-Brown (68), Tumua Manu (20), Alex Nankivell (21), Bailyn Sullivan (5). Outside backs: Solomon Alaimalo (37), Sam McNicol (12), Kini Naholo (*), Etene Nanai-Seturo (11), Shaun Stevenson (33), Quinn Tupaea (*), Sean Wainui (35).
Hookers: Asafo Aumua (15), Dane Coles (110), Ricky Riccitelli (56). Props: Fraser Armstrong (22), Alex Fidow (4), Tyrel Lomax (30), Ben May (124), Xavier Numia (9), Pouri Rakete-Stones (*). Locks: James Blackwell (23), Devan Flanders (*), Kane Leaupepe (10), Liam Mitchell (12), Scott Scrafton (22), Isaia Walker-Leawere (18). Loose forwards: Gareth Evans (67), Vaea Fifita (57), Du'Plessis Kirifi (15), Reed Prinsep (44), Ardie Savea (91), Murphy Taramai (*). Halfbacks: Jamie Booth (11), TJ Perenara (127), Jonathan Taumateine (10). First five-eighths: Jackson Garden-Bachop (20), James Marshall (53), Fletcher Smith (22). Midfielders: Vince Aso (44), Jordie Barrett (48), Ngani Laumape (60), Jonah Lowe (3), Billy Proctor (1), Danny Toala (2), Peter Umaga-Jensen (5), Kobus Van Wyk (*). Outside backs: Wes Goosen (37), Ben Lam (38), Salesi Rayasi (5), Chase Tiatia (11).
Hookers: Andrew Makalio (33), Brodie McAlister (*), Codie Taylor (77). Props: Michael Alaalatoa (69), Harry Allan (12), George Bower (10), Oliver Jager (15), Joe Moody (82), Isileli Tuungafasi (4). Locks: Scott Barrett (68), Mitchell Dunshea (9), Luke Romano (123), Quinten Strange (25). Loose forwards: Ethan Blackadder (7), Tom Christie (*), Whetukamokamo Douglas (22), Cullen Grace (*), Billy Harmon (8), Sione Havili (*), Ethan Roots (*), Tom Sanders (28). Halfbacks: Mitchell Drummond (79), Ereatara Enari (5), Bryn Hall (84). First five-eighths: Fergus Burke (*), Brett Cameron (6), Richie Mo'unga (57). Midfielders: Braydon Ennor (25), Jack Goodhue (44), Dallas McLeod (*). Outside backs: George Bridge (49), Leicester Faingaanuku (1), David Havili (75), Inga Finau (*), Will Jordan (9), Manasa Mataele (23), Fetuli Paea (*), Sevu Reece (14).
Hookers: Liam Coltman (101), Ash Dixon (87), Ricky Jackson (1). Props: Ethan De Groot (*), Josh Iosefa-Scott (1), Ayden Johnstone (15), Daniel Lienert-Brown (74), Jeff Thwaites (11), Siate Tokolahi (67). Locks: Josh Dickson (17), Pari Pari Parkinson (7), Manaaki Selby-Rickit (*), Jack Whetton (9). Loose forwards: Teariki Ben-Nicholas (*), Shannon Frizell (27), Dillon Hunt (31), Zane Kapeli (*), James Lentjes (35), Marino Mikaele-tu'u (7), Sione Misiloi (*), Jesse Parete (24). Halfbacks: Folau Fakatava (3), Kayne Hammington (42), Aaron Smith (137). First five-eighths: Bryn Gatland (20), Mitchell Hunt (43), Joshua Ioane (22). Midfielders: Michael Collins (29), Ngane Punivai (2), Rob Thompson (50), Patelesio Tomkinson (21), Teihorangi Walden (34). Outside backs: Connor Garden-Bachop (*), Scott Gregory (*), Karisi Kuridrani (*), Josh McKay (6), Tevita Nabura (3), Jona Nareki (*), Thomas Umaga-Jensen (7).