Some exciting teamanews for this year's Classic.
Shane Williams (Wales and the British & Irish Lions) was capped on 87 occasions for Wales (2000-2011) and toured three times with the Lions (2005, 2009 & 2013). He is the record try scorer for Wales scoring 58 tries and is also his country’s most capped winger. He was a members of the 2005 & 2008 Welsh Grand Slam teams.
He was the International Rugby Board’s “Player of the Year” in 2008. His Welsh Club Rugby was initially with Neath where he played 94 times from 1998-2003 and then with Ospreys, playing 141 times for 2003 to 2012, scoring a total of 637 points. In 2012 he moved to Japan where he played for Mitsubishi Dynaboars till 2015 as player/coach.
In 2012 he was awarded an MBE for services to rugby. He is a rugby pundit for BBC and ITV and has set his sights on coaching Wales.
Ceri Sweeney (Wales) was capped on 35 occasions for his country from 2003 to 2007 at outhalf.
1998-2003 Pontypridd (91 caps)
2003-2004 Celtic Warriors (12)
2004-2007 Newport Gwent Dragons (86)
2007-2013 Cardiff Blues (113)
2013- Exeter Chiefs (16)
He made his first international appearance in 2003 against England and was selected for the squads for the 2003 and 2007 Rugby World Cups as well as for the Barbarians in 2014
James Downey (Ireland)
From 2003 -2006 James (centre) played his Irish club rugby for Leinster (9), Connacht (26) and Munster (3) before moving to Italy in 2006 to play for Calvisano (18). In 2007 he moved to the UK and became an integral part of Northampton Saints where he played 148 times over five seasons. He then returned to Munster for two seasons(2012-14) before joining Glasgow Warriors (2014-2015) and finally Wasps (2015-2016). He played for Ireland A in the 2009 Churchill Cup, which Ireland won, and in 2013 was capped for Ireland against Canada.
Richie Rees (Wales) was capped nine times for his country at scrumhalf from 2010-2012.
2003-2006 Swansea (52)
2004-2006 Ospreys (16)
2006-2007 London Irish (19)
2007-2012 Cardiff Blues (100)
2012-2013 Edinburgh (23)
2013-2015 Newport Gwent Dragons (48)
Chris Wyatt (Wales) was capped 38 times from 1998 to 2003 at Lock & Number 8.
1993-1994 Newport (22 caps)
1994-1996 Neath (30)
1996-2006 Llanelli Scarlets (276)
2006-2007 Munster (12)
2007-2008 Bourgoin (21)
2008-2011 Aix-en-Provence (62)
2011-2012 USAP 84
His first cap was also against Zimbabwe in 1998 and played in the 199 and 2003 Rugby World Cups.
Tony Buckley (Ireland) played 25 times for Ireland at prop from 2007 to 2011 including the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups. He also played 60 times for Connacht, 96 times for Munster and 57 times for Sales Sharks. Rather unusual for a prop he scored a total of 90 points since being over 6’5”, and weighing over 300 pounds, he was unstoppable close to the line.
David Corkery (Ireland) was capped on 27 occasions at flanker for Ireland including the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa.
Kieron Dawson (Ireland) as capped for Ireland as a flanker at Schoolboy, Students Under-21 and A levels before playing 21 times for his country at full international level. He also played for Ulster on 38 occasions and for London-Irish a total of 190 times.
He was part of the 1999 Rugby World Cup squad.
Ollie Smith (England) played for England at U-19 & U-21 levels as well as for England Saxons before being capped for England in the Six Nations in 2003 at centre. He was capped five times. He was also capped on the Lions tour to New Zealand in 2005. His club career was primarily with Leicester (174 appearances) while he also played for Montpelier and Harlequins.
Neil Best (Ireland) was capped nine times for Ireland A (2008/2009) and 18 times for Ireland (2005-2008) as flanker.
He played 122 times for Ulster ( 2005/08) 50 times for Northampton (2008/10), 62 times for Worcester (2010/13) and 13 times for London Scottish (2013)
6 Tony Buckley Prop 25 caps Ireland & Munster
7 James Cockle Prop England U21 & London Irish
3 Adam Black Prop England U21 & Newport Gwent Dragons
12 Chris Fortey Hooker England A & Gloucester
16 Saul Nelson Hooker Wales A & Bristol
1 Chris Bentley Lock England U21 & Exeter Chiefs
14 Adam Jones Lock 2 caps Wales & Newport Gwent Dragons
18 Peter Sidoli Lock Wales A & Newport Gwent Dragons
2 Neil Best Flanker 18 caps Ireland & Northampton
8 David Corkery (Capt.) Flanker 27 caps Ireland & Munster
10 Kieron Dawson Flanker 21 caps Ireland & Ulster
20 Nathan Strong Flanker Wales RL & Pontypridd
22 Neil Thomas Flanker 9 caps Wales & Bath
25 Chris Wyatt # 8 38 caps Wales & Llanelli Scarlets
17 Richard Rees Scrumhalf 9 caps Wales & Ospreys
13 Andrew Jenkins Scrumhalf 1 cap Wales RL & Pontypridd
4 Gareth Bowen Outhalf Wales A & Llanelli Scarlets
21 Ceri Sweeney Outhalf 35 caps Wales & Exeter Chiefs
11 James Downey Centre 2 caps Ireland & London Wasps
19 Ollie Smith Centre 5 caps England, Lions & Harlequins
23 Shane Williams Wing 87 caps Wales, Lions & Ospreys
24 Lenny Woodward Wing 2 caps Wales & Bridgend
5 Spencer Brown Wing 2 caps England & Bedford Blues
9 Barry Davies Fullback 2 caps Wales & Ospreys
15 Gareth King Fullback Wales A & Newport Gwent Dragons
Allan Martin Manager 34 caps Wales, Lions & Aberavon
Willie John McBride 66 caps Ireland, Lions & Ulster
Derek McAleese Coach 2 caps Ireland & Ulster
Renaissance Re is a sponsor of the Classic Lions
FRANCE CLASSIC RUGBY
Jean-Philippe Grandclaude (France) played three times for his country from 2005 to 2007 at centre. He played his club rugby with Beziers, including three European Challenge Cups and three Heineken Cup games , as well as for US Colomiers (10 caps) and US Perpignan ( 82 caps).
Jean-Baptiste Gobelet (France)was part of the French Sevens team and is currently playing for Stade Francais having played 121 times for Biarritz at centre
Julien Saubade (France) has represent France at Under-19, Under-21 and also at Sevens. He played for Stade Francais on the wing from 2005-2009 and for Racing Metro from 2009-2013
Elvis Vermeulen (France) was capped 10 times for France at flanker from 2001-2008 and was a member of the team which won the 2007 Six Nations scoring the try against Scotland which gave France the title. He played his club rugby for AC Brive from 1998-20011 and for AS Montferrand from 2001-2014.
Alexandre Audebert (France) was capped twice for France at flanker in 2000-2002. He played for Clermont Auvergne on 170 occasions from 1999-2012
USA CLASSIC EAGLES
Mark Crick (Classic Eagles) hooker who has played 12 times for the USA, having previously been capped at Under-19 and Under-21 for Australia. He played his club rugby with NSW Waratahs (30 caps), Ulster (8) and is currently with Maryland Exiles
Peter Dahl (Classic Eagles) flanker was capped on 15 occasions for the USA and another 6 caps for the USA Sevens
Mose Timoteo (Classic Eagles) was capped 32 times at scumhalf for the USA and a further 125 times for the USA Sevens.
Mike Palefau (Classic Eagles) was fullback for the USA on 12 occasions and played another 165 times for the USA Sevens.
Brian Barnard (Classic Eagles) played four times for the USA on the wing and was a 2004 Collegiate All American
Percy Montgomery was the first player to reach 100 caps for South Africa and held the record of 102 caps (1997-2008) for quite some time. He holds the record for most points scored having amassed a total of 893 points. He played in both the 1999 and the 2007 Rugby World Cups and was the top points scorer in the 2007 Cup which South Africa won.
Thinus Delport was capped on 18 occasions for the Springboks from 2000 to 2003 at wing and fullback. He played for six seasons in the UK with Gloucester (2002-04) on 35 occasions and for Worcester (2004-08) on 109 occasions, scoring a total of 144 points. In South Africa he played for the Golden Lions (1997-2001) and Natal Sharks (2002) and played his Super Rugby with the Cats, scoring a total of 267 points.
Conrad Jantjies played 24 Tests for South Africa at fullback from 2001-2008. He also represented his country at junior level in both cricket and football.
Danie Coetzee played in 15 tests for South Africa at hooker from 2002-2006, including the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
Gcobani Bobo was capped for South Africa at centre from 2003-2008. He also represented his country at U-19 level. He played in the UK from 2009-2011 for Newcastle Falcons.
Hanyani Shimange played at both hooker and flanker for South Africa on 9 occasions from 2004-2006. He also played at U-21 level for his country.
Tonderai Chavhanga was capped on the wing four times for his country from 2004-2006. He also played at U-21 level and at 7s for South Africa. He is possibly the fastest player to have played for South Africa running the 100 metres in 10.7 seconds
1 Delarey du Preez Prop 2 caps Natal Sharks & Lions
16 Hanyani Shimange Hooker 9 caps Western Province & Cheetahs
2 Danie Coetzee Hooker 15 caps Blue Bulls
18 Ethienne Reynecke Hooker Lions & Saracens
3 Andries Human Prop Blue Bulls & Boland (93)
4 Ryan Strudwick Lock London-Irish (213)
5 Marco Wentzel Lock 2 caps Natal Sharks & London Wasps
19 Nico Breedt Lok Natal Sharks & Cheetahs (65)
6 Corne Steenkamp Flanker Pumas
7 Bian Vermaak Flanker Benetton Treviso & Cheetahs
17 Justin Melck Flanker Western province & Saracens
8 Darron Nel # 8 Eatern province
9 Neil Cole Scrumhalf Natal Sharks (17)
10 Reinhard Gerber Outhalf Border (84)
11 Marc Watson Wing SA 7s (1) Lions
12 Gcobani Bobo Centre 6 caps, SA 7s (10) Lions & Western Province
13 Doppies le Grange Centre Lions
22 Thinus Delport Centre 18 caps Lions
14 Tonderai Chavhanga Wing 4 caps, SA 7s (2) Lions & Western Province
20 Egon Seconds Wing SA 7s (10) Western Province & Stormers (90)
21 Marius Schoeman Wing SA 7s
15 Conrad Jantjies Fullback 24 caps Lions & Western Province
23 Percy Montgomery Fullback 102 caps Natal Sharks & Western Province
Robbie Kempson Coach 37 caps Sharks & Western Province
Mark Wood Manager Eastern Province (75)
XL Catlin is a sponsor of the Classic Springboks
Carlos Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe was capped 65 times for Argentina at lock from 1996-2008. He played in three Rugby World Cups (1999,2003 &2007) and played in the UK for Northampton & Sales
Julio Farias Cabello was capped 30 times for Argentina at either lock or flanker from 2010 to 2013. He was also capped for the Under-21 team (8) and the Argentina Jaguars (5). He played his European club rugby for Rouen (2006/09) and London Welsh (2012/13) and his club rugby in Argentina for Tucaman and Pampas.
Lucas Borges played on the wing for Argentina from 2000 to 2005 on 32 occasions. He played in Europe from 2004 to 2009, primarily with Stade Francais (35), Treviso (20) Dax (18) and Albi (25). He then returned to Argentina in 2011 to play for Pucara.
Federico Martin Aramburu was capped 24 times at centre for his country at 15s and another 11 times at 7s. He moved to Europe in 2004 and played for Biarritz, Perpignan, Dax, Glasgow Warriors and, finally, Casi.
Eusebio Guinazu was capped 36 times at either prop or hooker having previously played for Argentina at U-18, U-19, U-21 and A levels. He European career included playing for Toulon (25) Agen (56), Toulouse (8), Bath (5) and Munster (20)
Gonzalo Longo was capped 51 times at #8 from 199-2007, including the 1999, 2003 & 2007 Rugby World Cups. He played club rugby in France for Narbonne and Clermont Auvergne
Jose das Neves Prop Lomas
Eusebio Guinazu Hooker 36 caps Mendoza
Julio Brolese Prop 2 caps La Plata
Carlos Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe Lock 65 caps Liceo Naval
Simon Bofelli Lock Duendes
Pablo Sciaretta Flanker A team La Plata
Julio Farias Cabello Flanker 30 caps Tucuman
Alejandro Galli # 8 A Team Belgrano
Nicolas Bruzzone Scrumhalf 7s SIC
Federico Serra Outhalf 10 caps SIC
Lucas Borges Wing 32 caps Pucara
Federico Martin Aramburu Centre 24 caps CASI
Santiago Carballo Centre 8 caps Alumni
Bernardo Stortoni Wing 26 caps CASI
Santiago Van Der Ghotte Fullback A Team Alumni
Juan Pablo Angelillo Prop A Team SIC
Gonzalo Longo Lock 51 caps SIC
Diego Leberato Flanker A Team Hindu
Federcio Castilla Flanker Los Tilos
Ramiro Dobal Scrumhalf A Team Delta
Alberto Di Bernardo Outhalf 6 caps Jockey Club Rosario
German Villamil Wing A Tea Pucara
Maximiliano Nannini Centre 5 caps Duendes
Alejo Fradua Centre Jockey Club Rosario
Rodolfo Ventura Manager 13 caps
Mario Larrain Doctor
Mario Botta Asst. Doctor
Rafael Madero Coach 41 caps
Eliseo Branca Coach 40 caps
Mariano Bosch Coach 4 caps
Martin Yanguela Official 1 cap
Pablo Cremaschi Official 6 caps
Sebastian Salvat Official 37 caps
Martin Lerga Official 3 caps
Claudio Cid Official
Carlos Fuchs Official
Classic All Blacks
Reuben Thorne was capped 50 times from 1999 to 2007 as lock or flanker and was appointed captain throughout 2002 and 2003. He was captain for 22 Test matches resulting in 19 wins during which the All Blacks won the Tri Nations (twice) and the Bledisloe Cup. He was captain in the 2003 Rugby World Cup losing to Australia in the semi-final. He played his club rugby for the Canterbury Crusaders (129) up to 2008 and then for Yahama Jubilo in Japan. He returned to play for the Crusaders in 2011 in the Super 15.
He led the Crusaders to a perfect season in 2002 with 13 wins from 13 games. He played for the Auckland Blues on 137 occasions from 2002-2015 in Super Rugby and for North Harbour (54) in the ITM Cup.
Andrew Mehrtens was, without doubt, the All Black of his time!
He played 70 times (1995-2004) for the All Blacks, scoring 967 points, a record until passed by Dan Carter in 2009 and remains his country’s second highest scorer. His test aggregate would have been higher had he not missed some of the “softer” tests played during his time as an All Black.
He played in the 1995 and 199 Rugby World Cups. He played a total of 281 first class games, 108 for Canterbury (1,056 points), 87 for Crusaders (981 points and 967 points for the All Blacks. His twelve year career as a first class player resulted in him becoming a national icon and was a huge favourite of fans and a large section of the media.
Troy Flavell was capped 22 times as lock from 2000 to 2008., he also played for the Maoris
Rikki Flutey was capped 14 times for England in the centre from 2008-2011 and became in 2009 the first player to play for and against the British and Irish Lions. He previously played for New Zealand at all age groups, including the team that won the U19 World Cup. He also played for the New Zealand Maoris.
Hawkes Bay 1998
Wellington Lions 1999-2005 & 2014
London –Irish 2005-2007
London Wasps 2007-2009 & 2010-2012
Andrew Hore was capped 83 times for the All Blacks from 2002-2013 at hooker.
Super Rugby, 151 games
Seilala Mapusua was capped 7 times at centre for the Pacific Highlanders (2004-2008) and 26 times for Samoa (2006-2013) including the 2007 World Cup. he playes 126 times for London irish and was named the 2011 Player of the Season.
Counties Manukau 1998
London Irish 2006-2011
Kubota Spears 2011-2014
Kamaishi Seawaves 2014-2016
Super Rugby, 51 games
Gavin Williams was capped 16 times at centre for Samoa (2007-2010) and twice for the Pacific Islanders in 2008 scoring 106 points.
He played for Connacht (28) in 2005-2007 and moved to Dax (51) for 2007-2009 and then Clermont Auvergne (39) for 2009-2013 before joining Stade Francais in 2013. His father Bryan was an All Black
Xavier Rush was capped 8 times for the All Blacks from 1998-2004 at No.8 being first capped at the age of 21 against Australia. He played 86 games for Auckland Blues from 1997-2005 in Super Rugby and 130 games for Cardiff Blues from 2005-2012
1 Kees Junior Meuws Prop 42 caps Otago
17 Andrew Hore Hooker 83 caps Highlanders
2 Jason Ruthledge Hooker Highlanders
16 Joe Ward Hooker 2 caps England Saxons Sale
18 Kelvin Middleton Lock NZ A Highlanders
6 Reuben Thorne Lock 50 caps Canterbury
5 Greg Rawlinson Lock 4 caps Worcester
4 Luke Andrews Lock NZ 7s Hurricanes
7 Aaron Persico Flanker 56 caps (Italy) Rovigo
24 Scott Waldrom Flanker 4 caps Chiefs
19 Alex Gough Flanker Mitsubishi
8 Deon Muir # 8 30 caps (Maoris) Chiefs
3 Paul Miller # 8 2 caps Kurita Water
20 Xavier Rush # 8 8 caps
9 Rhys Duggan Scrumhalf 1 cap Chiefs
21 John Weston Scrumhalf Scotland 7s
10 Charles Hore Outhalf Highlanders
25 Andrew Mehrtens Outhalf 70 caps Crusaders
22 Rikki Flutey Centre 14 caps (England) Lions (1)
23 Gavin Williams Centre 16 caps (Samoa) Stade Francais
12 Seilala Mapusua Centre 26 caps (Samoa) Kamaishi Seawaves
15 William Walker Centre 10 caps (Maoris) Worcester
13 Nick Collins Centre NZ 7s Chiefs
11 Jackie Tarrant Wing 7 caps (Japan)
Adam Kleeberger played 35 times for Canada at flanker including the 2011 Rugby World Cup. He played club rugby in the UK for Rotherham and London Scottish and had a spell in New Zealand with Auckland.
Derek Daypuck was capped 17 times at outhalf/centre for Canada from 2004 to 2007, including the 2007 Rugby World Cup
Rugby Italian Classic XV