he World Rugby Classic may be nine weeks away but already the teams are starting to firm up as players commit to taking part in the 27th edition of the event.
New Zealand return after a two year hiatus and will be led by former All Black captain Reuben Thorne while the Classic Lions will be led by former captain of England, Mike Tindall.
Thorne played 50 times for his country, 23 times as captain, as well as 129 times for the Crusaders and 71 times for Canterbury
He will be joined by fellow All Blacks, Kees Meuws who made 42 appearances for New Zealand and flanker Scott Robertson who played 23 times.
Mike Tindall played 75 times for England in the centre and was part of England’s winning World Cup team of 2003.
He played 85 times for Bath, 181 for Gloucester and 5 times for the Barbarians.
Tindall will be joined by England International, Iain Balshaw, also a member of the 2003 World Cup team, having played 35 times for his country and 3 times for the Barbarians.
Balshaw played most of his club rugby with Bath where he appeared on 127 occasions but also at Leeds Carnegie (17), Gloucester (39) and Biarritz Olympique (69).
Dan Parks of Scotland played 66 times for his country and holds the all-time points record in the Celtic League with over 1,500 points.
His club rugby was with Glasgow playing in 107 games and also with Leeds Tykes (6) Cardiff (38) and Connacht (50)
Paddy Wallace was capped 30 times for Ireland at outhalf or centre and took part in the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups.
He played 189 times for Ulster having previously also been capped for Ireland at Under-19 level.
Defending champions South Africa will be joined by France, Italy, Argentina, Canada and the United States with Australia being rested for this year.
Chris Jack, lock, player 67 times for the All Blacks ,and played 110 Super Rugby games for the Crusaders.
South Africa will be without last year’s winning Captain, Victor Matfield, as he has come out of international retirement to once again play for his country in the Rugby Championship against Argentina, New Zealand and Australia!
Apart from the Classic teams two overseas teams will here to play against each other and local opposition.
A team from the British Army will he here for all of Classic Week and will play against Atlanta Renegades, with both teams playing against a Bermuda “old boys” selection.
The Classic gets under way with a big welcome party in Hamilton on the 8th November with the Finals scheduled for the 15th.