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22th March 2018

Lote Tuqiri included in Classic Wallabies squad; Luke Burgess back

Lote Tuqiri won 67 caps for the Wallabies and will make his GFI HKFC 10s debut from April 4-5. Photo: Getty Images.

Hong Kong; March 22, 2018: Lote Tuqiri has been included alongside fellow winger Wendell ‘Big Dell’ Sailor in the Classic Wallabies squad for the 33rd GFI Hong Kong 10s from April 4-5 as the star-studded Australian side compete at Hong Kong Football Club for a second year.

Former Australia lock Justin Harrison and prop Bill Young – who both played alongside Sailor and Tuqiri in the 2003 World Cup final – will be head coach and manager respectively of a squad that includes over 200 Wallaby caps and over 900 Super Rugby appearances. Tim Horan was announced as head coach last month, but is unable to make the trip.

Sailor (37 caps), scrumhalf Luke Burgess (37 caps), Morgan Turinui (20 caps) and flanker Stephen Hoiles (16 caps) return from last year’s squad along with Super Rugby stalwarts Patrick Phibbs and Sam Harris.

Adam Freier (25 caps) and the 6ft 6in Peter Kimlin (two caps), currently playing in Japan, were announced last month as new additions, while the iconic Tuqiri, who scored 30 tries in 67 appearances for Australia, and Matt Hodgson (11 caps) – who played his final Super Rugby season last year – will also be making their GFI HKFC 10s debut.

Arthur Little and former Brumbie Tyrone Smith are also among those over 30, while the squad has been bolstered by several current or recent Super Rugby and Australia Sevens representatives in their 20s including David McDuling, Alex Gibbon and Fred Dorrough.

Melbourne Rebels stars David Horwitz and Henry Hutchison also join the squad with the blessing of Rebels’ Head Coach David Wessels, illustrating just how seriously the Classic Wallabies are taking the Hong Kong 10s.

“The balancing act for us is getting enough former Wallabies and enough up-and-comers to have the right mix, and we think we’ve managed to do just that with this squad,” said Hoiles, who manages the Classic Wallabies for the ARU.

“Henry Hutchison was the 2016 World Rugby Sevens Rookie of the Year before moving to Super Rugby, while Matt Hodgson, David Horwitz and David McDuling were all Super Rugby regulars in 2017. All of the players returning from last year’s 10s are in markedly better shape and raring to go, so we’re looking forward to getting over to Hong Kong and ripping in.”

The Classic Wallabies lost in the semi-finals of the third-tier Bowl last year and as eighth seeds this year, will face defending champions UBB Gavekal (first seeds), A-Trade Overseas Old Boys (12th) and Hunter + Boo East Africans (16th) in Pool A on the opening day.

On Tuesday, April 3, the team will be running a Mini Wallabies Camp at Discovery Bay Rugby Club in the morning and at the Australian International School in the afternoon.

GFI has title sponsored the event since 2006. Other sponsors and suppliers for 2018 include Natixis (Gold Sponsor), AIA, Allied World, BT, DHL, Q-Net and Taikoo Place (Silver Sponsors), CBRE, EY and Markel (Bronze Sponsors), Last Word Media, Volvo (Official Car), Grolsch (Official Beer) and Samurai Sportswear (Official Apparel).

The Official Charity is the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, created in support of former Scotland and Lions lock Doddie Weir who is suffering from Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

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 All Blacks who won the 2015 Rugby World Cup – Conrad Smith, Jerome Kaino (both 2003), Ben Smith, Charlie Faumuina (both 2008), Beauden Barrett, Sam Cane (both 2010) and Nehe Milner-Skudder (2013).

Classic Wallabies players (ages) for 2018 GFI HKFC 10s

Luke Burgess (34) – 84 Super Rugby Caps, 37 Wallaby Caps

Fred Dorrough (22) – Uncapped

Adam Freier (38) – 102 Super Rugby Caps, 25 Wallaby Caps

Alex Gibbon (25) – 2 Super Rugby Caps, Australia Sevens

Sam Harris (38) – 26 Super Rugby Caps

Matt Hodgson (36) – 140 Super Rugby Caps, 11 Wallaby Caps, Australia Sevens

Stephen Hoiles (36) – 116 Super Rugby Caps, 16 Wallaby Caps, Australia Sevens

David Horwitz (23) – 27 Super Rugby Caps

Henry Hutchison (21) – Uncapped, Australia Sevens

Peter Kimlin (32) – 77 Super Rugby Caps, 2 Wallaby Caps

Arthur Little (36) – Uncapped, Australia Sevens

David McDuling (28) – 28 Super Rugby Caps

Patrick Phibbs (36) – 73 Super Rugby Caps, Australia Sevens

Wendell Sailor (43) – 55 Super Rugby Caps, 37 Wallaby Caps, Australia Sevens

Tyrone Smith (34) – 47 Super Rugby Caps

Lote Tuqiri (38) – 89 Super Rugby Caps, 67 Wallaby Caps, Australia Sevens

Morgan Turinui (36) – 70 Super Rugby Caps, 20 Wallaby Caps, Australia Sevens

 

GFI HKFC 10s 2018 (seeding in brackets)

Pool A: UBB Gavekal (1), Classic Wallabies (8), A-Trade Overseas Old Boys (12), Hunter + Boo East Africans (16)

Pool B: Turkish Airlines Penguins (2), Projecx Waterboys (7), Irish Vikings (11), Natixis HKFC (15)

Pool C: Tradition YCAC (3), King’s College sponsored by Strategic Equity Alliance (6), CCIG Tigers (10), Devil’s Own Shanghai Silver Dragons (14)

Pool D: Samurai International (4), Kir Club Pyrenees (5), Taikoo Place Scottish Exiles (9), Sedbergh School Old Boys (13)

 

Match schedule: www.hongkongtens.com/match.php

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