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Rutledge ready for ‘competitive’ Classic

Jason Rutledge, who will be lining up for the Classic All Blacks next week, is looking forward to a “high level” of action at the World Rugby Classic.

The Classic begins tomorrow at North Field, National Sports Centre, and hooker Rutledge is looking forward to some competitive rugby from the eight teams.

“It's rolling subs but when you are on it's all go, it's pretty competitive,” Rutledge told the Southland Times. “I'd say it would a high level of club rugby.”

Rutledge used to play for the Highlanders, of Super Rugby, on the South Island of New Zealand and turns 40 next month. This will be his third Classic, but could be his last.

“I've always said I want to play until I'm 40, so I've got at least one season left,” he added.

Among his team-mates are Corey Flynn, who won 15 New Zealand caps from 2003 to 2011 and played for Crusaders in Super Rugby as well as Toulouse and Glasgow Warriors. Fellow Classic All Black Tom Donnelly also made 15 international appearances between 2009 and 2010 and represented the Crusaders, the Highlanders and the Blues in New Zealand, along with Montpellier, in France.

The Classic Pumas, who face Rugby Canada in the opening game, will feature full Argentina internationals Lucas González Amorosino, Gonzalo Tiesi and Bernardo Stortoni. Amorosino, a 32-year-old flanker, won 52 caps and played in the World Cup in 2011 and 2015 while playing club rugby for Leicester Tigers, Montpellier, Oyonnax, Cardiff Blues and Munster.

Tiesi, also 32, made 38 appearances for his country and the centre enjoyed a club career with London Irish, Harlequins, Stade Français, London Welsh and Newcastle Falcons.

Full back Stortoni, 40, played 26 times for the Pumas, spending most of his club days with Glasgow.

Nicolas Laharrague is the biggest name representing France Classic Rugby. The 36-year-old centre and fly half was a Perpignan stalwart and had two caps for Les Bleus.

Hottie Louw and Gerhard Vosloo are among the top names looking to ensure the Classic Springboks retain their title in Bermuda.

The Springboks defeated the Classic Pumas 14-0 last year to claim their sixth title and first since 2013.

With lock Louw, 41, who played three Tests for South Africa, and 38-year-old flanker Vosloo, a former Top 14 player for Clermont Auvergne and Brive, named in their travelling party, the Springboks are sure to be title contenders.

Perennial favourites Classic Lions, who were beaten 14-7 by the Springboks in the semi-finals last year, have included Sean Lamont, Mike Ross and Marcus Horan in their 23-man squad.

Lamont, only the second player to win 100 caps for Scotland, retired from professional rugby last season while playing for Glasgow. The 36-year-old centre scored 70 points for Scotland from 2004 to 2017, and 320 points during his club career, which included two spells at the Warriors.

Ross, who also retired last season, made 61 appearances for Ireland, playing in two World Cups, as well as winning a pair of Six Nations titles.

The 37 year-old also won two Heineken Cups, a Challenge Cup and two Pro12 titles with Leinster. Meanwhile, Horan was capped 67 times by Ireland and was part of the side that won the Grand Slam in 2009.

The 40-year-old, who retired in 2013, also represented Ireland at the 2007 World Cup and won a pair of Heineken Cup and a Magners League with Munster.

The World Rugby Classic kicks off between the Classic Pumas and Rugby Canada at 2.30pm tomorrow, with the final next Saturday at 8.30pm.

SCHEDULE

General Admission via Frog Lane Gate on game days. Adults $25; 12-17 $10, U-12 N/C with adult.

Tomorrow

12.45pm: U8's and U10's rugby

2.30pm: Classic Pumas vs. Rugby Canada

4.00pm: Classic Lions vs. France Classic Rugby

Monday

7.15pm: Classic All Blacks vs. USA Classic Eagles

8.30pm: Classic Springboks vs. Rugby Italian Classic XV

Wednesday

5.45pm: Bermuda Barbarians vs. British Army Masters

7.15pm: Plate semi-final

8.30pm: Classic semi-final

Thursday

6.15pm: U12's and U14's rugby

7.15pm: Plate semi-final

8.30pm: Classic semi-final

Saturday, November 11

5.45pm: Bermuda Barbarians vs. British Army Masters.

7pm: Plate Final

8.30pm: Classic Final

Big name: Sean Lamont won 105 caps for Scotland

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Published November 04, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated November 04, 2017 at 12:21 am)

Rutledge ready for ‘competitive’ Classic

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