Previously, we looked at the oldest club team. Now our attentions turn to the players who were into their late 30s and early 40s as they made their final appearances for their country.
The team is an interesting mix of some of the biggest names in rugby history combined with tier 2 and tier 3 representatives.
Whilst most fans will know of the likes of Ireland’s Mike Gibson, England’s Simon Shaw, Argentina’s Hugo Porta and Fiji’s Sireli Bobo, the likes of Russia’s Sergey Sergeev and Uruguay’s Diego Ormaechea will be less well known.
Ned Hughes, whom this writer had not heard of previously, is particularly famous because there was a gap of 13 years between caps. He also represented New Zealand in rugby league, playing against a touring Great Britain side.
Wales’ Tommy Vile is certainly an interesting character. After playing poorly for Wales against England in 1913, he was dropped. However, he made his comeback to captain Wales against Scotland in 1921, at the ripe old age of 37.
Barry ‘Fairy’ or ‘Ox’ Heatlie captained South Africa but also represented Argentina. His work in introducing rugby to South Africa was recognised with a place in the IRB’s Hall of Fame back in 2009.
Uruguay’s Ormaechea coached the team at the 2003 Rugby World Cup and is now a veterinary surgeon, recognised as one of the best surgeons in South America.
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Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena
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