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International Rugby: The World’s Oldest XV

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 27: Nick Easter of Harlequins is held by Kieran Brookes during the Aviva Premiership match between Northampton Saints and Harlequins at Franklin's Gardens on March 27, 2016 in Northampton, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

As sports science within rugby continues to improve, some players seem to be able to prolong their careers more and more, year after year.

Here, we have put together a XV containing the oldest players to have taken to the field in the Aviva Premiership, Pro 12, Top 14 and Super Rugby competitions.

There are some very big names here, including Irish legend Peter Stringer, World Cup winners in Mike Catt and Brad Thorn, and dedicated clubmen like Tony Windo and Nick Easter.

GLOUCESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04: Peter Stringer of Sale is tackled by Gloucester number 8 Sione Kalamafoni during the Aviva Premiership match between Gloucester Rugby and Sale Sharks at Kingsholm on December 4, 2015 in Gloucester, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

One does have to wonder how professional players are able to make their bodies last so long in the unforgiving environment of top drawer rugby, particularly at Test level. In the case of Easter, he did not make his Harlequins debut until the age of 26, which like Exeter’s Tom Johnson (another late bloomer), meant he has been able to continue his career well into his thirties.

Northampton Saints fans will recognise Bruce Reihana well, as the two-cap All Black enjoyed nine seasons at the club and was at the heart of every win and every success during his time there. It says a lot about his ability and talent that he was still able to play in the Top 14 at full-back at the age of over 37.

EXETER, ENGLAND - MARCH 06: Bruce Reihana of Northampton passes the ball during the Aviva Premiership match between Exeter Chiefs and Northampton Saints at Sandy Park on March 6, 2011 in Exeter, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Duncan Bell, who made his full England debut at the age of 31, spent many years in Wales and actively attempted to gain international recognition through Wales originally. He finished his professional career with the Dragons and was amazingly almost 40 years old when he played his last game.

Altogether, this is a team with an incredible amount of experience, an unbelievable amount of talent and an unparalleled amount of determination.

How any fan worth his or her salt would love to see this team play together in their pomp.


The World’s Oldest XV

Dates included are their last known appearances for their clubs.

1 – Tony Windo, 10th May 2008, Worcester, 39 years (11 days)
2 – Mefin Davies, 28th Oct 2011, Ospreys, 39 (56)
3 – Duncan Bell, 10 May 2014, Dragons, 39 (222)
4 – Robin Brooke, 10th February 2006, Blues, 39 (63)
5 – Brad Thorn, 16th May 2015, Leicester Tigers, 40 (102)
6 – Jean Bouilhou, Pau, 30th Jan 2016, 37 (54)
7 – Gerhard Vosloo, Toulon, 17th May 2015, 37 (95)
8 – Nick Easter, 16th April 2016, Harlequins, 37 (245)

9 – Peter Stringer, Sale Sharks, 17th April 2016, 38 (126)
10 – Gordon Ross, London Welsh, 30th Nov 2014, 36 (267)
11 – Sireli Bobo, Pau, 26th March 2016, 40 (58)
12 – Mike Catt, London Irish, 8th May 2010, 38 (234)
13 – Tana Umaga, Chiefs, 4th June 2011, 38 (8)
14 – Christophe Dominici, Stade Francais, 7th June 2008, 36 (18)
15 – Bruce Reihana, Begles-Bordeaux, 5th October 2013, 37 (182)


Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena


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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.