Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has announced the Chiefs squad for the 2012 Super 15 season with three Rugby World Cup champions to make up part of his backline.

Imports Sonny Bill Williams (Crusaders) and Aaron Cruden (Hurricanes) are the big inclusions to the squad and will help fill spots left by the departing All Black duo of Mils Muliaina and Stephen Donald and former All Black skipper Tana Umaga who retired at the end of last season.

Fellow All Black Richard Kahui returns for another season with the Chiefs. Southland utility back Robbie Robinson joins the Chiefs after two seasons with the Highlanders.

The Chiefs squad lacks current All Blacks in the forwards but includes Tongan prop Sona Taumalolo and Samoan hooker Mahonri Schwalger who both impressed at the Rugby World Cup. The forwards also include former All Blacks Liam Messam, Hika Elliot, Scott Waldrom and Tanerau Latimer.

Dave Rennie said "It is a good mixture of young exciting talent and key experienced players which should allow us to play a highly appealing style of rugby".

Chiefs 2012 Squad
Forwards
Toby Smith
Sona Taumalolo
Ben Afeaki
Shane Cleaver
Ben Tameifuna
Hika Elliot
Mahonri Schwalger
Romana Graham
Craig Clarke
Mike Fitzgerald
Brodie Retallick
Kane Thompson
Liam Messam
Scott Waldrom
Tanerau Latimer
Sam Cane
Fritz Lee
Alex Bradley

Backs
Brendon Leonard
Tawera Kerr-Barlow
Aaron Cruden
Andrew Horrell
Jackson Willison
Sonny Bill Williams
Richard Kahui
Aseli Tikoirototuma
Lelia Masaga
Maritino Nemani
Declan O'Donnell
Tim Nanai-Williams
Robbie Robinson

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- HERALD ONLINE