11.30am



Luke McAlister will remain in Auckland and the Crusaders will keep their star five-eighths Daniel Carter, Aaron Mauger and Andrew Mehrtens for next season's Super 12 rugby competition.



The Super 12 squads were named this morning after being postponed yesterday.



Rico Gear, who has transferred from North Harbour to division two side Nelson Bays for next year, has been included in a Crusaders side packed with exciting talent -- Fijian speedster Vilimoni Delasau and sevens player Tony Koonwaiyou among them.

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McAlister, one of the eight new All Blacks named this week to tour the northern hemisphere next month, tried hard to shift to the Hurricanes.



However, Blues coach Peter Sloane had first call on him.



McAlister is one of the three players All Blacks coach Graham Henry has earmarked for long-term first five-eighth. Carter and Mauger are the other two players he is taking on tour to develop as play-makers.



Henry was hoping to see either Carter or Mauger play for another franchise in order to allow them to develop their game at first five-eighth.



By including McAlister in the squad, the Blues also have three pivots in their squad, the other two being Carlos Spencer and Tasese Lavea.



Among the other features of the five New Zealand squads released by the New Zealand Rugby Union this morning are:



* the selection of nine Bay of Plenty players in the Chiefs squad, reflecting their fine NPC season;



* fullback Ben Blair's switch from the Crusaders to the Highlanders;

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* the selection of Taranaki's Fijian-born Samoan international winger Sailosi Tagicakibau by the Chiefs, allowing the Hurricanes to regain the other Samoan winger Lome Fa'atau; and



* Waikato halfback Isaac Boss' selection in the Hurricanes side.



Chiefs coach Ian Foster pointed out that five of his new selections -- Sosene Anesi, Adrian Cashmore, Kevin Senio, Aleki Lutui and Bernie Upton -- were no strangers to the Chiefs environment, having been involved with the team at various stages this year.



"These guys are certainly familiar with our team environment and with all of them coming off a strong NPC season, they have played their way into selection this time," Foster said."



Other players to earn a spot in the Chiefs squad for the first time are Waikato's Stephen Donald, Bay of Plenty's Nili Latu and the Chiefs only draft player in the 28-strong squad, Tagicakibau.



"It is pleasing to be able to stick with a core group of Chiefs from the 2004 season," Foster said.



He said it was always going to have a headache when it came to selecting the halfbacks.



"Isaac has spent the last two Chiefs seasons mostly coming off the bench, and I believe the move to the Hurricanes represents a real opportunity for him."



The Hurricanes squad contain only four changes to this year's side.



"It is preferable to have continuity and consistency of selection in order to build on the foundations already in place, rather than starting from scratch each year," coach Colin Cooper said.



New players in the Hurricanes are Scott Waldrom, Jimmy Gopperth and Boss, while Fa'atau gets a recall.



The Super 12 rugby squads for 2005 are:



Blues: John Afoa, Ben Atiga, Daniel Braid, Justin Collins, Steve Devine, Taufa'ao Filise, David Gibson, Tom Harding, Doug Howlett, Jerome Kaino, Tasesa Lavea, Angus MacDonald, Luke McAlister, Keven Mealamu, Bradley Mika, Mils Muliaina, Isa Nacewa, Greg Rawlinson, Joe Rokocoko, Xavier Rush, Carlos Spencer, Saimone Taumoepeau, Sam Tuitupou, Ali Williams, Nick Williams, Derren Witcombe, Tony Woodcock, Rudi Wulf.



Chiefs: Sosene Anesi, Steven Bates, Adrian Cashmore, Ben Castle, Michael Collins, Loki Crichton, Simms Davison, Stephen Donald, Jono Gibbes (captain), David Hill, Sean Hohneck, Marty Holah, Byron Kelleher, Nili Latu, Sione Lauaki, Keith Lowen, Aleki Lutui , Derek Maisey, Deacon Manu, Grant McQuoid , Wayne Ormond, Mark Ranby, Keith Robinson, Kevin Senio , Sitiveni Sivivatu, Sailosi Tagicakibau, Bernie Upton, Tom Willis.



Hurricanes: Luke Andrews, Isaac Boss, Jerry Collins, Lome Fa'atau, Tim Fairbrother, Riki Flutey, Hosea Gear, Jimmy Gopperth, Ben Herring, Andrew Hore, Ross Kennedy, Chris Masoe, Joe McDonnell, Ma'a Nonu, Kristian Ormsby, Shannon Paku, Tony Penn, Conrad Smith, Rodney So'oialo, Neemia Tialata, Paul Tito, Tane Tu'ipulotu, Tana Umaga (captain), Scott Waldrom, Thomas Waldrom, Brent Ward, Joe Ward, Piri Weepu.



Crusaders: Sam Broomhall, Daniel Carter, Vilimoni Delasau, Greg Feek, Ross Filipo, Corey Flynn, Rico Gear, Scott Hamilton, Sam Harding, Dave Hewett, Chris Jack, Campbell Johnstone, Tony Koonwaiyou, Tone Kopelani, Casey Laulala, Johnny Leo'o, Leon MacDonald, Justin Marshall, Aaron Mauger, Norm Maxwell, Richie McCaw, Andrew Mehrtens, Jamie Nutbrown, Kevin O'Neill , Caleb Ralph, Greg Somerville, Reuben Thorne, Mose Tuiali'i.



Highlanders: Josh Blackie, Ben Blair, Colin Bourke, Neil Brew, Jimmy Cowan, Clarke Dermody, Tom Donnelly, Nick Evans, Ryan Glover, Carl Hayman, Carl Hoeft, Glen Horton, Chris King , Danny Lee, Filipo Levi, Hoani MacDonald , Seilala Mapusua, Cameron McIntyre , Paul Miller, Craig Newby (vice-captain), Anton Oliver (captain), Hayden Pedersen, James Ryan, Matt Saunders, Mahonri Schwalger, Jason Shoemark, Anthony Tuitavake, Grant webb.



The number of players from each Air New Zealand NPC provincial union team



North Harbour 7



Auckland 23



Bay of Plenty 11



Waikato 19



Taranaki 5



Wellington 23



Canterbury 27



Nelson Bays 1



Otago 19



Southland 5



- NZPA