With Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa less than a month away, some rugby fans may be wondering what other Mitre 10 Cup players are doing with their time.
March 20 sees the kick-off of the 2021 Major League Rugby season in the US.
A large number of current and former Mitre 10 Cup and Super Rugby players will kit up for their respective teams.
There is one Canadian team, the Toronto Arrows, alongside 12 US teams.
Counties Manukau first five-eighth Jason Robertson, 26, who has also represented Waikato and Bay of Plenty, heads into his second season with Washington based Old Glory DC.
"It's a pretty different competition to what we are accustomed to here in New Zealand but it's pretty special to play in a league that is still taking its baby steps into becoming what I think will be one of the world's top leagues in many years to come," said Robertson.
"Sport in the US is like a religion, so fans get behind their teams pretty vocally which makes for a great atmosphere to play in."
Before Covid-19 interrupted the 2020 MLR season, Robertson had started all five matches at number 10, amassing 67 points, the top point scorer for the season. He also had the most penalty goals with 15 and was fourth in try assists with four.
"I thoroughly enjoyed my first season with Old Glory on and off the rugby field, made some incredible memories and relationships in the short time we had.
"The highlight would have to be playing in front of a boisterous sold-out crowd in DC who were simply amazing and got right behind us when we needed it most, by far and above the best fans in the league," he said.
"On a personal note, I was stoked to get some good form back and playing with a smile on my face again."
Later in the year, Robertson was a standout for Counties Manukau in 2020 after filling in the big boots of former Blues playmaker Baden Kerr.
He claimed 57 points for the season, completing 91 per cent (20/22) of his attempted goal kicks.
"I had a great relationship with the Old Glory coach [Andrew Douglas] back from my Waikato playing days so when he got the job up in DC he asked if I'd like to join him over there and with Super Rugby opportunities falling by the wayside, it was an opportunity I took with both hands.
"I'm looking forward to getting right back where we left off and kicking on from our successful 2020 season. We have brand new facilities in DC so also very excited to get stuck into our work in a great environment."
Kurt Morath, 36, is an experienced Tongan first five-eighth with 38 International caps and 340 points for his country.
He has attended three Rugby World Cups and is the second highest points scorer for a Pacific Nation behind Fiji's Nicky Little (top points scorer for Tonga).
The former Hamilton Boys' High student played eight games for Taranaki between 2006 and 2007.
These days he dons the number 10 jersey for the Austin Gilgronis.
"It's always good being a part of a competition in its early stages. It gives you a chance to try and shape the way the future of the league will look years from now," said Morath.
Before signing with the Gilgronis he had been to the US several times. He was the top point scorer (120) for the San Diego Breakers in the short-lived PRO Rugby competition and also represented the Utah Warriors in Major League Rugby.
"I've been here coming up a year and I really like the city of Austin. Nice people, lots of outdoor things to do and good weather for the majority of the year."
After Covid-19 interrupting the 2020 season, Morath is more than keen for this season to kick-off.
"We were very disappointed the season had to end as we felt the team was heading in the right direction to contend for a title," he said.
"It's a new group of players, new coaching staff as well as the new ownership. There's plenty of buzz around Austin for the season to start and we're looking forward to putting on a good show for our supporters."
The following players are current and former players from (or that have played in) New Zealand that are playing in the 2021 MLR competition.
Tasman first five-eighth Tim O'Malley is signed for the Dallas Jackals who will make their debut appearance in the 2022 MLR. Recently he was seen training with the Crusaders.
NEW ZEALAND'S MAJOR LEAGUE LEGION:
*denotes international representative.
Italic font denotes played in the 2020 Mitre 10 Cup.
Jamie Mackintosh* (Southland, Otago, Highlanders, Chiefs, All Blacks)
Reegan O'Gorman* (South Canterbury, Canada)
Isaac Ross* (Canterbury, Tasman, Crusaders, Highlanders, Chiefs, Māori All Blacks, All Blacks)
Pele Cowley* (Counties Manukau, Waikato, Samoa)
Kurt Morath* (Taranaki, Tonga)
Frank Halai* (Waikato, Counties Manukau, Blues, All Blacks)
Todd Clever* - Director of Rugby (North Harbour, USA)
Andrew Suniula* - Assistant Coach (Taranaki, USA)
Taylor Howden (N/A)
Campbell Johnstone* - Assistant Coach (Hawke's Bay, Canterbury, Tasman, Crusaders, All Blacks)
San Diego Legion:
Lua Li (North Harbour, Northland, Blues)
Josh Furno* (Otago, Wellington, Italy)
Brad Tucker (Waikato, Taranaki, Manawatū, New Zealand Marist)
New England Free Jacks:
Joe Johnston (Bay of Plenty)
Jack Ram* (Northland, Blues, Tonga)
Beaudein Waaka (Poverty Bay, Taranaki, Waikato)
Harrison Boyle (Otago)
Aleki Morris-Lome (North Otago, Southland, Otago)
Poasa Waqanibau (Wanganui, Canterbury)
Liam Steel (Auckland, Bay of Plenty)
Kane Thompson* (Wellington, Southland, Hawke's Bay, Manawatū, Taranaki, Highlanders, Chiefs, Samoa)
Old Glory DC:
Mike Sosene-Feagai* (Hawke's Bay, Auckland, New Zealand Marist, USA)
Gordon Fullerton (N/A)
Api Naikatini* (Wellington, Waikato, Hurricanes, Fiji)
Callum Gibbins (Manawatū, Hurricanes)
Mungo Mason (Waikato)
Jamason Faʻanana-Schultz* (Auckland, USA)
Danny Tusitala* (Auckland, Samoa)
Jason Robertson (Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Counties Manukau)
Rugby United New York:
Sakaria Taulafo* (Nelson Bays, Tasman, Samoa)
Samu Tawake* (Canterbury, Manawatū, Fiji)
Kara Pryor (Auckland, Northland, Blues, Māori All Blacks)
Andy Ellis* (Canterbury, Crusaders, All Blacks)
Dan Hollinshead (Bay of Plenty, Highlanders)
Fa'asiu Fuatai (Otago, Bay of Plenty)
Marty Veale - Assistant Coach (Canterbury, North Harbour, Northland)
Martini Talapusi (N/A)
Te Rangatira Waitokia (Wanganui, Manawatū, New Zealand Heartland XV)
Rory van Vugt (Southland)
Tayler Adams (Southland)