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30th March 2017

Sailor, Burgess, Hoiles among Classic Wallabies' World Cup stars

The Classic Wallabies and Famous Fijians at this year’s Sydney Sevens. Photo: c/o ARU.

Wendell Sailor, Luke Burgess, Stephen Hoiles, Adam Freier and Morgan Turinui among former Australia internationals coming to Hong Kong

Hong Kong; March 30, 2017: Legendary wing Wendell Sailor and 33-year-old scrumhalf Luke Burgess will star for the Classic Wallabies in next week’s GFI HKFC 10s, which will be held on the Wednesday and Thursday ahead of the Hong Kong Sevens.

Morgan Turinui – like Sailor, part of the Australia squad that lost to England in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final – and 2007 World Cup teammates Stephen Hoiles and Adam Freier are also among the big names in the side coached by former Wallaby lock Justin Harrison.

The only debutants in the 16-team field, the Classic Wallabies start in Pool D against two-time runners-up Tradition YCAC, the Damien Traille-captained Kir Club Pyrenees and the GoCloudWifi East Africans.

An awesome sight in full flow, Sailor won 37 caps for the Wallabies despite playing rugby league for the majority of his career, and was one of the top finishers in both codes.

After eight seasons with Brisbane Broncos, the big-framed winger switched to union in 2001 and played Super Rugby for Reds and then Waratahs. The crowd favourite finished his competitive career in 2010 after returning to league for two seasons at St George Illawara Dragons.

“We’re all excited about playing in the GFI HKFC 10s in Hong Kong for the first time. It’s a special feeling getting together with old Wallabies teammates and we always have a good time. There’s a good group of us going,” Sailor said.

“We’ve already seen our opponents in the pool stage. I know Tradition YCAC have been runners-up twice and we also face the French team, Pyrenees, and they have Damien Traille as captain. That should be a fun match.

“We also have East Africans in our group, so it’s a tough start and I’m glad we’ve got the young Australia Sevens players in our squad.”

Turinui, 35, also played for Waratahs and Reds, and the current Melbourne Rebels assistant coach even turned out for his side at this year’s Brisbane Global 10s.

Freier, 36, played hooker at Rebels, Waratahs and Brumbies, while back-rower Hoiles, 35, starred for Waratahs and Brumbies, returning to Waratahs for the 2014 season. Both still play club rugby for Randwick.

Burgess, who helped Australia finish third at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, only recently called time on a career that included time at Waratahs, Brumbies, Rebels, Toulouse in France and Zebre in Italy.

Pat Phibbs, 35, played scrumhalf for Brumbies, Australia A and Australia Sevens, and is also among the squad’s senior members along with former Waratahs and Australia Sevens fullback Brendan Williams, former Waratahs centre Sam Harris, and Australia rugby league representative Steve Menzies.

The squad will be boosted by Australia Sevens players not selected for the Hong Kong Sevens. The provisional Sevens contingent included teenager Dylan Pietsch, who played in this year’s Sydney Sevens, fellow back-rower Tom Connor and centre Ben O’Donnell.

Player of the Tournament at last November’s National Sevens Championship in Adelaide, New Zealand-born O’Donnell is the cousin of Super Rugby players Kylem and Declan O’Donnell, who both played for New Zealand Sevens.

Pool A comprises defending champions Penguin International, eighth seeds Projecx Waterboys of Scotland, Irish Vikings and Devil’s Advocate Silver Dragons (SRFC and SUS) from Shanghai.

Pool B features three-time runners-up Mourant Ozannes Samurai International, Taikoo Place Scottish Exiles, UBB Gavekal – who have four contracted Fiji Sevens players – and CRFA Gladiators from China.

Pool C comprises Hogan Lovells Asia Pacific Dragons, champions in 2012, 2014 and 2015, reigning Plate winners A-Trade Overseas Old Boys, Australian side King’s College at UQ - sponsored by Strategic Equity Alliance, and hosts Natixis HKFC.

On day two, the event divides into Cup and Bowl quarter-finals, then splits into four sets of semi-finals: Cup, Plate, Bowl and Shield.

The GFI HKFC 10s is broadcast live on the official website (www.hongkongtens.com) and YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/c/hkfc10s). Host broadcaster Now TV will also show live action on April 5 (1.40pm-9.00pm) and April 6 (3.00pm-8.30pm) on Now Sports Prime (Channel 600) and Now Sports 5 (Channel 635).

Tickets are available at Ticketflap (www.ticketflap.com/gfi2017), including ‘Early Bird’ offers for two days of rugby (HK$150) and the After Party (HK$250). All ticket receipts and onsite donations will be given to the two official charities: The Umbrella Foundation (Nepal) and Khelo Rugby (India).

Inaugurated in 1986 to celebrate Hong Kong Football Club’s centenary, the GFI HKFC 10s has long attracted the game’s top players including seven of the New Zealand team who won the 2015 Rugby World Cup – Conrad Smith, Jerome Kaino, Ben Smith, Beauden Barrett, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Sam Cane and Charlie Faumuina.

Along with GFI, other sponsors in 2017 include Allied World and Natixis (gold sponsors), BT/Riverbed, DHL, Q-Net, Swire Properties/Taikoo Place and Withers (silver), CBRE, CPA Global, EY, Markel and Tricor (bronze), Pure Blonde (official beer), Home Alimental (official water), Tsunami Sport (official apparel), Regal Hongkong Hotel (official hotel) and CUHK Sports Medicine (medical support).

For more information, visit:

Website:          www.hongkongtens.com (live streaming)

Facebook:       www.facebook.com/HKFC10s (live streaming)

Twitter:            https://twitter.com/GFIHKFC10s

Instagram:       www.instagram.com/gfihkfc10s

YouTube:        www.youtube.com/c/hkfc10s

Hashtag:         #HK10s

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