Rhys Duggan, a regular feature of the Super 12 since its introduction in 1996, is the biggest casualty in the Chiefs lineup for next year.

Duggan, who has played 72 Super 12 matches, mainly for the Chiefs but also for the Hurricanes and the Highlanders, was chopped, ironically, by the man who was his inside back partner for much of that time, new Chiefs coach Ian Foster.

Foster obviously could not exercise sentiment in his selections, for it was clear a class halfback was going to miss a Chiefs spot when the Waikato union confirmed the transfer from Otago of All Black Byron Kelleher.

As his deputy, the younger Isaac Boss has won out over Duggan and also the well-performed Bay of Plenty NPC player, Kevin Senio.

Waikato's Fiji international hooker, Greg Smith, also failed to make the squad, his omission having been influenced by another transferee from Otago, Tom Willis.

The Chiefs will not rely so heavily on the draft next year.

Foster and his assistant, Farrel Te Mata, will have 16 players from this year's Waikato NPC side and another four - props Ben Castle and Simms Davison, loose forward Wayne Ormond and first five-eighth Glen Jackson - from Bay of Plenty.

The squad of 28 is rounded out by the return of Roger Randle and Mark Ranby from the injuries that ruled both out of this year's NPC, transferring Counties-Manukau wing Sitiveni Sivivatu, and two draft players.

These are Wellington's Manu Samoa international wing, Lome Faatau, and the Auckland loose forward Sione Lauaki.

Foster believes he has the mix to make the Chiefs more competitive in the Super 12. "I'm wanting to developing skill levels and increase our rugby intelligence on the field."