Nine transfers that will spice up Super Rugby in 2023

The pending conclusion of the Super Rugby season will have coaches (armchair or otherwise) looking at gaps in their squads and how they can be filled.

Without central contracting in the Australian system, teams were able to store talent to some degree.

While this obviously provides depth to the stronger sides, it can deprive quality players of regular playing time.

The most obvious example this year was the Brumbies with three Wallabies-headed hookers and a fourth with the potential to get past the lot.

Folau Fainga’a has already signed with the Force, so here are a few other hypothetical player mixes (some more realistic than others!) That would make 2023 interesting.

Connal McInerney to the Rebels
Limited to the Wallabies last year, including a memorable try on a debut against Japan, McInerney didn’t see much first-team performance at the Brumbies this year.

A solid provincial player who was likely lucky enough to make the Wallabies, he would make a very convenient addition to support Jordan Uelese at the Rebels with James Hanson moving on.

The Brumbies would still have two good-natured hookers in Lachlan Lonergan and Billy Pollard – both of whom would benefit from more playing time.

Paisami hunter to the Brumbies
The Reds are well stocked in the back line with captive wallabies in James O’Connor, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, and Philip Daugunu or established squad members with potential for higher honors in Jock Campbell, Suliasi Vunivalu, Josh Flook and Hamish Stewart.

Hunter Paisami

(Photo by Albert Perez / Getty Images)

That’s eight players for six starting places. So one or two might consider moving on for more playing time.

Although unlikely, Paisami could switch to the Brumbies to fill the 12-vacancy left by Irae Simone and provide the opportunity to build a powerful center-pair with Len Ikitau.

Felipe Daugunu to the Brumbies
A strong, fast winger who hasn’t seen much playing time this year (partly due to injury) is another who could make a move away from Queensland to avoid the back pressure.

The Brumbies lacked a powerful winger as Toni Pulu left for the Force and Solomone Kata went to Moana. With Tom Banks away, Tom Wright is able to move to defense permanently, opening a vacancy for Daugunu on the wing.

Lachlan Swinton to the Force
The Waratahs’ enforcer missed most of the year with an injury, allowing several other players to cement starting positions in the Waratahs.

Charlie Gamble is one of the first picks and with Ned Hanigan back filling a five or six role Swinton has played in the past, a move to the Force would see him replace Fergus Lee-Warner, who is moving overseas.

Liam Wright to the Rebels
Similar difficulty to the outer backs at the Reds, the loose forwards are very well supplied.

It’s hard to imagine the Reds captain moving interstate, but with Seru Uru, Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson performing so well, a move could provide him with the regular playing time he needs to try to get into the World Cup squad.

Moreover, his leadership would be a huge addition to the Rebels.

Reece Hodge to the Brumbies
This is a slightly left-handed field, but for a player who has never earned enough of his potential or extended chances, a move away from the Rebels could only revive his career and help him nail down the Wallabies ’defensive position.

Reece Hodge of the Rebels

(Photo by Asanka Ratnayake / Getty Images)

With Banks moving on, there is a lot of advantage to Hodge moving to an organization famous for getting the best out of players. He would obviously be a great loss to the Rebels, but for his own development it could only be for the best.

Will Harrison to the Reds
The Reds urgently need more depth at flyhalf and with Tane Edmed and Ben Donaldson performing well at the Waratahs, a move north for Harrison would give him O’Connor’s mentorship with a view to taking over the ten jersey post-World Cup.

That would leave us with Noah Lolesio at the Brumbies, Reesjan Pasitoa at the Force, Carter Gordon at the Rebels, Edmed or Donaldson at the Tahs and Harrison at the Reds.

Scott Sio to Force or the Rebels
Without the money in the payroll to keep Sio, the Brumbies sadly have to say goodbye to a longtime loyalist.

He has not yet announced his future, but his form has improved a lot this year, so a move to one of the expansion clubs would be strengthened and would give a mentor to future props.

Samu Kerevi to anywhere!
Currently playing in Japan but at the end of his contract, it would be great to repatriate Kerevi, who would also open a place for a foreign player selection in the Wallabies.

Samu Kerevi of the Wallabies makes a run for it

(Photo by Jono Searle / Getty Images)

The Reds would be the obvious destination, but either side of Australia would improve with him in their books.

With Irae Simone leaving the Brumbies, however, they are a side without a clear replacement at 12 for next season, so he would fit in well.

The Force is the other side that could accommodate him, but their twelve-12 combination in Pasitoa and Bayley Kuenzle is worth persisting.

Obviously most of these will never happen, but there is plenty of opportunity for more creative collaboration between the Australian squads.

Then we just need to find some money to bring more players home, restore a third tier competition then support and expand the base game and all the problems of Rugby Australia are solved!

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