Classic Wallabies tackle Hong Kong Tens

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Morgan Turinui, Stephen Hoiles, Luke Burgess and a crop of Aussie Sevens players headline a Classic Wallabies team ready and raring to go for tomorrow's Hong Kong Tens.

The Classic Wallabies program has fallen by the wayside in recent years, with tomorrow's tournament a follow to its return at the Sydney Sevens, where they played a Classic Fiji side.

At a time where Australian rugby is struggling for positive momentum, Hoiles told the program was as much about its work off the field than its work on it.

"There is a fair amount of negativity around the game at the moment and I hope this can been seen as a positive of what we are trying to do," Hoiles said.

"I think there is a big difference in what we used to do with schools and clubs compared to what we did when I started.Morgan Turinui lends a helping hand in Hong Kong."That's not having a crack at the current guys but they just have less spare time.

"We can still use the Classic Wallabies as a way to spread the word about rugby with guys who are all really recognisable faces,

"We have to be seen and try to get out to other parts of the country if we are going to grow the game - the kind of places that don’t get to see rugby all that often,

"I know we are in Hong Kong, but we have started the journey back in Australia, and the response has been amazing, and we are looking forward to doing more, with some exciting news ahead."

Hoiles and the team put themselves through a light session today after spending the week running coaching clinics for the Hong Kong community.It's been all smiles at the Classic Wallabies clinics.Spreading the good word about rugby around the Australia and the world is one major positive of the Classic Wallabies, but it also provides benefits for ex-players looking to transition to normal life.

In the wake of Dan Vickerman's tragic death, Hoiles highlighted this as another key factor in the revival.

"We want all Wallabies, past and present, to know they have our support - in good times and bad.

"For me, that has been the most important thing about this Classics program the last 12 months, we are reconnecting our past Wallabies back into the rugby family again.

Classic Wallabies Luke Burgess, Julian Huxley and Stephen Hoiles. Karen Watson"In light of 'Vicks' there are a lot of guys trying to reach out and for us that’s more motivation to try and get these happening more often.

"It helps guys transition, so we are doing what we can to not only helps the kids but to see some of these guys who haven’t played in these, it's really good.

"If we can help these kids and get these kids interested in rugby at the same time, it’s a great result.

The Classic Wallabies clinics have been a hit in Hong Kong.Aussie Sevens squad members Steph Van Der Walt, Ben O'Donnell, Connor Mitchell and Josh Coward have all been named in the squad, but Hoiles said 'Big Dell' (Wendell Sailor) is the one to watch.

"It’s a really unique set-up we’ve got," he said.

"We've got some current Sevens players, recently retired players, as well as some who haven't played in 10 or so years.

"We aren't really sure how we will go.

"Seeing some of the boys turning up in the other teams, we are going to be up against Fiji Sevens players, NZ Sevens players.

"It's going to be really interesting to see how we go."

The Classic Wallabies kick off their campaign on Wednesday April 5 at 1:15 local time, 11:15am AEST. 

Live stream of day one of the Hong Kong Tens available here.


Classic Wallabies squad to play at the Hong Kong Tens

Steph Van Der Walt - Australian Sevens

Stephen Hoiles - Classic Wallaby

Trent Anderson - Brisbane Wildcard

Will Munro - Sydney Wildcard

Tom Connor - Australian Sevens

Dylan Pietsch - Australian Sevens

Luke Burgess - Classic Wallaby

Pat Phibbs - Classic Aussies Sevens

Sam Harris - Classic Aussies Sevens

Morgan Turinui - Classic Wallaby

Ben O’Donnell - Australian Sevens

Wendell Sailor - Classic Wallaby

Brendan Williams - Classic Aussies 7s

Steve Menzie - Wildcard

Coach: Justin Harrison - Classic Wallaby


Wednesday, Pool D.

3:15m AEST Classic Wallabies v Kir Club Pyrenees (France)

6:55pm AEST Classic Wallabies v GoCloudWifi East Africans

10:35pm AEST Tradition YCAC (Japan) v Classic Wallabies

Live stream of day one of the Hong Kong Tens available here.