There might not be formalised competition structure for the 2022 Super Rugby season, but that hasn't stopped the clubs from locking in the final pieces of their playing squads.
Stay across all the signings, re-signings and departures below.
Wallaby Hanigan set for Waratahs return
The NSW Waratahs have further bolstered their playing roster with the re-signing of Wallabies loose forward Ned Hanigan for the 2022 Super Rugby season.
Currently contracted to Kurita Water Gush in the Japanese Top League, Hanigan will return to Sydney after he completes his commitments in Japan, most likely in April.
The 26-year-old back-rower is a product of the NSW pathways, progressing from club rugby in Randwick and NSW Country in the NRC to making his debut for the Waratahs in 2016 and representing the side on 43 occasions.
Hanigan went on to make his Test debut in 2017 against Fiji under Michael Cheika and was a key part of Dave Rennie's squad last season, playing in five of the Wallabies' six Tests.
His Test experience and ability to also play in the second row ensures he will be a key part of the Waratahs' forward pack in 2022.
Hanigan was excited to return to his home state and thrilled to have the chance to return to the NSW Waratahs.
"I'm very grateful that the Waratahs have welcomed me back," Hanigan said.
Hanigan's return continues a busy week for recruitment for the Waratahs, who will also welcome back versatile forward Jed Holloway next year.
The Tahs also announced the retention of exciting backs Alex Newsome, Mark Nawaqanitawase and Lalakai Foketi.
Holloway heading back to Waratahs
NSW Waratahs have continued their recruitment drive, luring versatile forward Jed Holloway back to Sydney on a two-year Super Rugby deal.
Holloway, with 58 NSW caps, left the Waratahs at the end of the 2020 season and spent the past year in Japan playing alongside former teammate and Wallabies captain Michael Hooper at Toyota Verblitz.
The 28-year-old said he was grateful for the chance to return to his home state and is excited to link up with new head coach Darren Coleman.
"Ever since I started playing rugby, I wanted to be a Waratah. The team gave me a huge opportunity 10 years ago and I'm extremely grateful that they are willing to take another chance on me now," Holloway said.
"Both the Waratahs and myself have a lot to prove next year but I believe we have all the pieces to make it happen.
"I learned a lot from some great people in Japan and I'm excited to join the team and start putting that together.
"DC (Coleman) has nothing but success on his record, he is a proven culture builder."
Tuipulotu set for Japanese sabbatical as part of new deal
Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu will take up a Japanese sabbatical in 2022, but he has committed his long-term future to Leon MacDonald's team.
Tuipulotu has re-signed with both New Zealand Rugby and the Blues through 2025, but he won't play any part in next year's Super Rugby competition.
Having created a similar situation for All Blacks star Beauden Barrett this year, Blues chief executive Andrew Hore said Tuipulotu also deserved the opportunity to experience playing rugby in another country and the financial incentives it can provide.
"It will be a tremendous experience for him. We recognise that the recompense to play overseas is significant and a key opportunity for Patrick and his family," he said.
"As we did with Beauden this year, we will plan for it, fill the gap as best we can, and look forward to his return in 2023 for a further three years.
"Patrick is a cornerstone of our playing group and I am sure the boys will want to do the job for him while he is away."
Tuipulotu guided the Blues to the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman title last month and while that helped push him over the line for a sabbatical next year he insists he still has plenty to achieve in both the blue and black jerseys in the future.
"In some ways winning the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman title has made my decision easier, because we have got that monkey off our backs at the Blues," he said.
"I am excited for the new experience overseas and will be doing my best. Equally, I will be looking forward to returning to the Blues and my home in Auckland.
"I have big goals that I want to achieve both for my country and the Blues in the future."
Mogg returns to Brumbies after six-year absence
Former fan favourite Jesse Mogg will make his return to Super Rugby in 2022.
The 32-year-old Mogg, who was a part of the Brumbies team that was beaten by the Chiefs in the Super Rugby 2013 final, has signed on for two seasons after spending the last six years in France with Montpellier and Pau.
Mogg's return is a another boost for a strong back three contingent at the Brumbies which already includes Wallabies Tom Banks and Tom Wright, and Andy Muirhead, who is also a part of Dave Rennie's current Test squad.
"I'm delighted to be returning home to Australia with the Brumbies," Mogg said.
"I've obviously kept an eye on how the team has been going since I've been away and I've been impressed with how they've continued to grow a strong culture and success on the field and I'm excited to be a part of the Brumbies again.
"Having a few familiar faces still at the club like Dan, Laurie and Whitey of course, will make it easier for me to transition back and I'm just really excited to rip into preseason."
Wright, Scott-Young to stay on at Ballymore
Key back-rowers Liam Wright and Angus Scott-Young have both signed contract extensions with the Queensland Reds.
Captain Wright and workhorse Scott-Young both passed 50 appearances for the Reds this year and will stay on at Ballymore until at least the end of the 2022 Super Rugby campaign.
Wright - who made his debut for the Wallabies in 2019 - endured a frustrating 2021 campaign with the 23-year-old sidelined for the majority of the season with a foot injury but he returned in time to play in Queensland's Super Rugby AU grand final win over the Brumbies.
The 24-year-old Scott-Young, the son of former Wallabies forward Sam Scott-Young, was one of only two players to feature in all 14 of Queensland's games in 2021, starting all but one.
Wright and Scott-Young are two of 11 Reds players to have signed new deals after their successful campaign this year.
Waratahs trio sign contract extensions
NSW backs Lalakai Foketi, Alex Newsome and Mark Nawaqanitawase have all signed on with the club for 2022
With coach Darren Coleman locked in on a three-year deal, the contract extensions of the backline trio is another boost on the road back from rock bottom for the Waratahs.
Foketi and Newsome have signed one-year deals while Nawaqanitawase has put pen to paper through 2023.
The club is expected to announce further re-signings in the coming days with reports a number of former club stalwarts are poised to return to Sydney.
Centre Foketi, who is a part of the Wallabies squad but is yet to make his Test debut, said he was excited about helping the club rebuild from a disastrous 2021.
"I'm loving playing at the Waratahs and deciding to extend my time here for another season was an easy decision," Foketi said.
"Although it hasn't been the best season in terms of results, I feel we're definitely heading in the right direction.
"It's an extremely tight knit group at the Waratahs and there is a real sense of excitement about what this team can achieve next season."