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Top names lined up for 30th classic

There will be several high-profile names to look out for when the World Rugby Classic rolls into town for its 30th anniversary next month.

Olly Barkley, the former England scrum half, Marcus Horan, who won 67 caps for Ireland as a dynamic prop, and wing Sean Lamont, Scotland's third most capped player, will surely get bums off the cheap seats and momentarily halt the quaffing of champagne in the hospitality tents.

Ireland, one of the five original teams from the first tournament in 1988, will return to the annual scrum-fest after an absence of more than 25 years, boasting notable names such as hooker Shayne Byrne, Andy Ward and fellow flanker Trevor Brennan.

Gordon D'Arcy, Peter Stringer and Donnacha O'Callaghan, who helped Ireland claim the Grand Slam in 2009, were included in the provisional squad released in May but will not be making the trip.

The Irish have replaced New Zealand, last year's runners-up, who have been dropped from the tournament because of financial constraints. It is understood the decision will save organisers about $50,000 in airfare and open up new sponsorship and hospitality opportunities.

Joining the Ireland Rugby Legends at the event, which runs from November 4 to 10 at North Field, will be the Classic Pumas, the defending champions, Rugby Canada, France Classic Rugby, Classic Springboks, Rugby Italian Classic X, Classic Lions and USA Classic Eagles

Included in the Classic Lions squad are Irishman and captain David Corkery, former England wing Spencer Brown and fly half Ceri Sweeney, who won 35 caps for Wales and still turns out for Pontypridd.

South Africa will travel to the island with Danie Gerber, who was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 2007, among their coaches.

Gerber won only 24 caps for South Africa between 1980 and 1992 because of isolation from his country caused by apartheid. The former centre played for South Africa at the Classic in 1998.

Another decorated name coaching at this year's Classic will be Patrice Lagisquet, nicknamed the “Bayonne Express”. Lagisquet won 46 caps for France and is now his country's backs and defence coach.

Ireland will face France in the opening game of the competition before the Springboks meet Canada.

The Classic Lions open their campaign against Italy on the second day of the competition.

Defending champions Argentina will play the US on the second day.

Star man: former England scum half Olly Barkley

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Published October 24, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated October 23, 2018 at 11:23 pm)

Top names lined up for 30th classic

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