Big names confirmed for World Rugby Classic
Butch James, Adriann Strauss and Delon Armitage will be among the big names set to sprinkle some stardust on the 32nd World Rugby Classic at North Field, National Sports Centre, in November.
James will be one of the standout players for the Classic Springboks having been capped 42 times for South Africa from 2001 to 2011, helping his country to Rugby World Cup glory in 2007.
It was in that final against England that his composure and ability to nullify the impact of Jonny Wilkinson helped his country to 15-6 win at the Stade de France in Paris.
He will be joined by international compatriot Strauss, a former Springboks captain, who made 66 international appearances for his country at hooker from 2008 to 2016, including the 2015 World Cup. Domestically, Strauss played Super Rugby for the Bulls and the Cheetahs, making 156 appearances, a record for a South African player.
Other key names to look out for among the Classic Springboks contingent include Albert van den Berg, who was capped 51 times for his country at lock and played in the 1999 World Cup, Wyand Olivier, who played 38 times for South Africa from 2006 to 2013 and Tonderai Chavhanga, the fastest rugby player in South African history, capable of running the 100 metres in 10.27 seconds.
Armitage heads up the Classic Lions squad, having been capped a total of 26 times for England from 2008 to 2012 until his much documented move to France to play for Toulon curtailed his international career.
He notably scored the only try of the match to guide Toulon to the Heineken Cup, the annual top-tier European competition, in 2013 among his 103 appearances for the club, as well as playing 165 times for London Irish before that. He and brother Steffon also became the ninth pair of siblings to play for the national team.
Alongside Armitage, the Classic Lions squad is also made up of a host of seasoned internationals including Welsh duo Daffyd James and Ceri Sweeney, capped 48 and 35 times respectively for their country, as well as Scotland's Max Evans, who has 44 international appearances to his name and Johnnie Beattie, a flanker capped 38 times.
Argentina's Classic Pumas, who will be gunning for a third straight Classic title success, have also announced a strong squad.
Among the squad are Eusebio Guinazu, a prop, who featured in the 2007 World Cup, among his 36 caps for his country, as well as other seasoned internationals Manuel Carizza and Gonzalo Tiesi, capped 44 and 38 times respectively.
Having suffered a one-sided 25-0 defeat by the Pumas in the final last year, Ireland Rugby Legends will be returning to Bermuda with a star-studded squad as they aim to go one better.
A notable Munster contingent are among the squad including Anthony Horgan, Duncan Williams and John Kelly.
The former, capped nine times for Ireland and part of the 2003 World Cup squad, played 146 times for Munster, including winning the 2006 Heineken Cup, as well as being the club's all-time leading tryscorer at the time of retiring.
Williams featured 163 times for the club, while Kelly, who played in the 2003 World Cup, was also part of Munster's 2006 Heineken Cup success.
Other notable names in the squad include Paddy Wallace, capped 30 times as well as being part of the 2007 and 2011 World Cup squads and Shane Byrne, capped 41 times, as well as touring with the British and Irish Lions to New Zealand in 2005,
David Corkley, who picked up 27 international caps, including featuring in the 1995 and 1999 World Cups, has also been included in the squad.
As well as defending champions the Classic Pumas, Ireland Rugby Legends, the Classic Lions and the Classic Springboks, Canada, France, Italy, and the USA Classic Eagles complete the line-up.
The competition, which will run from November 2 to 9, will change from its traditional Sunday opening this year and will now start on the Saturday when Canada take on Italy and Argentina face France.
On the Monday, Ireland will play the USA Classic Eagles while the Lions take on South Africa.