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Following months of anticipation, the 2018 Vodafone Super Rugby season is upon us with the action set to kick off in Australia this weekend.
Across the four Australian teams 156 players have been signed to the 2018 season including 22 fresh faces who are in line to make their Super Rugby debut.
Each Australian team will also welcome back a stellar line up of experienced players with 21 of them set to celebrate a career landmark of either 50 or 100 Super Rugby caps during the season.
The Australian Conference kicks off in just two sleeps when the Melbourne Rebels go head to head with the Queensland Reds this Friday night at AAMI Park (7.45pm AEDT kick off).
New Rebels Head Coach David Wessels has a strong squad at his disposal with 13 Qantas Wallabies stars including Will Genia, Reece Hodge and Dane Haylett-Petty.

The squad also features Japan’s powerful number 8 Amanaki Mafi and former England lock Geoff Parling.  
Newly appointed Captain Adam Coleman will be putting the Rebels jersey on for the first time alongside 16 others including Matt Philip and Jermaine Ainsley. At the ripe age of 26, Coleman has 48 Super Rugby caps under his belt together with 20 international appearances for the Wallabies.
The Rebels will face some tough interstate competition, going up against the Reds who are ready to fire under new Head Coach Brad Thorn.
Thorn has recruited 10 new players – seven being selected from the Queensland Country squad following their remarkable 2017 season which saw them win their first NRC Grand Final.
Included in that list is Wallabies Spring Tour development player Liam Wright, NRC leading try scorer Filipo Daugunu and NSW Country Eagles hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa.
Adding to this, 20 Reds players have been retained from the 2017 squad including Wallabies Lukhan Tui, Izack Rodda, Samu Kerevi, James Slipper, George Smith, Taniela Tupou and Captain Scott Higginbotham.
Higginbotham will be the 117th Captain to lead the Reds and brings with him a wealth of experience following 123 Super Rugby games and 34 Tests for Australia.
Following this match, the Brumbies who were Australia’s 2017 Conference Champions, will open their season in Tokyo on Saturday against the Sunwolves (3.15pm AEDT kick off).
The Canberra-based squad will welcome back Wallaby David Pocock following a break from Australian Rugby. The powerful back-rower will lead the forward pack alongside a lineup of fresh faces including Mees Erasmus, Richie Arnold, Isi Naisarani, Lachie McCaffrey and Folau Fainga’a.
Head Coach Dan McKellar will also have 13 Wallabies and international stars to call on including Tevita Kuridrani, Scott Sio and Henry Speight.
Co-Captain Christian Lealiifano is ready to lead the squad alongside fellow Wallaby Sam Carter. Lealiifano recently re-joined the side from Top 14 outfit Ulster after overcoming his battle with leukaemia.
Later that night, Australia’s most recent Super Rugby champions, the Waratahs, will begin their quest for a second title against the Stormers at Allianz Stadium (7.45pm AEDT kick off).
The ‘Tahs boast a star-studded line up of Wallabies including Captain Michael Hooper, Kurtley Beale, Bernard Foley and Israel Folau.
It’s set to be another big year for the inspirational Hooper with the 26-year-old to lead the side for a fourth successive season.
Beale has returned to Sydney following a stint for Wasps in the English Premiership while lock Rob Simmons has made his way south following nine seasons in Queensland.
Head Coach Daryl Gibson has also introduced 10 new recruits to his 40-man squad including Tom Staniforth, Curtis Rona and Alex Newsome.
Every match will be broadcast live on FOX Sports and once again Network Ten will replay a feature match free to air nationally every Sunday morning at 8am on ONE. 

Rebels (37)

Jermaine Ainsley
Ben Daley
Tetera Faulkner
Tom Moloney
Fereti Sa'aga
Sam Talakai
Laurie Weeks

Anaru Rangi
Jordan Uelese

Adam Coleman
Sam Jeffries
Geoff Parling
Matt Philip

Back Row
Angus Cottrell
Colby Fainga'a
Richard Hardwick
Robert Leota
Ross Haylett-Petty
Amanaki Mafi
Lopeti Timani

Will Genia
Harrison Goddard
Michael Ruru

Tayler Adams
Jack McGregor
Jack Debreczeni (supplementary contract)

Tom English
Reece Hodge
David Horwitz
Bill Meakes
Sione Tuipulotu

Outside Back
Dane Haylett-Petty
Henry Hutchison
Marika Koroibete
Jack Maddocks
Sefa Naivalu
Semisi Tupou

Reds (40)

Sef Fa'agase
Harry Hoopert
James Slipper
JP Smith
Taniela Tupou
Markus Vanzati (not currently
required to train with the squad)

Alex Mafi
Andrew Ready
Brandon Paenga-Amosa

Angus Blyth
Kane Douglas
Harry Hockings
Izack Rodda
Lukhan Tui

Back Row
Michael Gunn
Reece Hewat
Scott Higginbotham
Adam Korczyk
Angus Scott-Young
George Smith
Caleb Timu
Liam Wright

Nick Frisby (not currently required to train with the squad)
Tate McDermott
Moses Sorovi
James Tuttle

Quade Cooper (not currently required to train with the squad)
Hamish Stewart
Ben Lucas
Jono Lance
Teti Tela

Chris Feauai-Sautia
Samu Kerevi
Duncan Paia’aua

Outside Back
Filipo Daugunu
Karmichael Hunt (voluntary stand down from Rugby duties)
Lachlan Maranta
Eto Nabuli
Izaia Perese
Aidan Toua

Allan Alaalatoa
Ben Alexander
Mees Erasmus
Leslie Leulua’iali’i-makin
Nic Mayhew
Scott Sio
Faalelei Sione

Robbie Abel
Folau Fainga’a
Josh Mann-Rea

Richie Arnold
Rory Arnold
Sam Carter
Blake Enever
Ben Hyne
Darcy Swain

Back Row
Tom Cusack
Lachlan McCaffrey
Isi Naisarani
David Pocock
Rob Valetini
Lolo Fakaosilea

Ryan Lonergan
Matt Lucas
Joe Powell

Wharenui Hawera
Christian Lealiifano
Mack Hansen

Kyle Godwin
Jordan Jackson-Hope
Andrew Smith
Tevita Kuridrani

Outside Back
Chance Peni
Henry Speight
James Dargaville
James Verity-Amm
Lausii Taliauli
Tom Banks
Andy Muirhead

Waratahs (40)
Paddy Ryan
Sekope Kepu
Matt Sandell
Tom Robertson
Shameckler Vui
Harry Johnson-Holmes
Cody Walker

Damien Fitzpatrick
Tolu Latu
Hugh Roach
JP Sauni

Tom Staniforth
Rob Simmons
Ryan McCauley
Nick Palmer

Lock/Back Row
Ned Hanigan
Lachlan Swinton

Back Row
Brad Wilkin
Michael Hooper
Jack Dempsey
Jed Holloway
Michael Wells
Will Miller
Maclean Jones
Kelly Meafua

Nick Phipps
Jake Gordon
Mitch Short (cover)

Bernard Foley
Mack Mason

Inside Centre/Flyhalf/Fullback
Kurtley Beale

Bryce Hegarty

Irae Simone
Lalakai Foketi

Curtis Rona
Alex Newsome

Outside Back
Cameron Clark
Andrew Kellaway
Taqele Naiyaravoro
Israel Folau