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Team lineups announced for Queenstown's classic rugby match

8 September 2011

Team lineups announced for Queenstown's classic rugby match

One of the great loose forwards of world rugby is bolstering an already strong French team coming to do battle against the Classic All Blacks in Queenstown next weekend.

Serge Betsen, a remorseless tackler nicknamed ‘Le Sécateur’ for his skill in scything down his rivals, retired from international rugby just two-and-a-half years ago.

A sportsman revered for the ferocity of his play during his 20 years in the game, he was strikingly consistent in his 63 tests for France and was a member of France’s World Cup teams in 2003 and 2007.

And on Sunday September 18 he will run out onto the Queenstown Recreation Ground for a Classic All Blacks versus French Classics rugby match that bears all the hallmarks of a game as much about national pride as any being played on the national arena.

New Zealand’s premier lake and alpine resort town will be a fitting ‘battlefield’ for a match that will pitch names such as Christian Cullen, Jeff ‘Goldie’ Wilson, Andrew Mehrtens, Justin Marshall, Charlie Hore, Reuben Thorne, Dion Muir, Kees Meeuws, Scott Robertson and Queenstown’s own Kelvin Middleton against the French.

The Classic All Blacks team will go head to head with the likes of centre Franck Comba and hooker Marc de Rougemont (known as Le Rouge or ‘The Red’) who both notched up 13 caps for France, and formidable lock David Auradou.

The Classic All Blacks and French Classics match, presented by Steinlager, is expected to attract locals and travelling RWC 2011 fans from all nations.

There will be three games held throughout the day, starting at 11am with the Rilean Construction Wakatipu Under 18 team playing The Grange School from Chile. At 1pm the Rilean Construction Wakatipu Basin will take on Maniatoto and at 3pm the Classic All Blacks feature game will kick off.

“I’m sure the Classic All Blacks will leave nothing to chance when it comes to defending our national pride, so we’re aiming for a capacity crowd of up to 7,000 people who we’re sure will enjoy not only the big match but all the fun festivities in the build up,” said match co-organiser Graham Budd, Destination Queenstown’s General Manager of Marketing.

“Thousands of seated and general admission tickets have already been snapped up and of course there will be tickets available on the gate on the day, although we’d advise coming early to avoid delays.

“It’s going to be a great day out for locals and visitors alike and it’s a perfect way for families to join in the nation’s rugby celebrations at minimal cost, with tickets free for children aged 16 and under,” said Mr Budd.

The match, organised by Destination Queenstown in conjunction with Classic All Blacks convener Andy Haden and the Sevens with Altitude committee, is one of a range of events happening around Queenstown as part of the nationwide REAL New Zealand Festival.

“The match day is part of two months of festivities happening during September and October which really does mean there’s never been a better time to come to Queenstown and enjoy everything our vibrant town has to offer,” said Mr Budd.

“We still have a full range of accommodation on offer to suit all budgets, paired with stunning food, wine, nightlife and shopping to make this a dream holiday for anyone who’s planning a last-minute break.”

While in Queenstown, both Classics teams are being hosted by The Rees Hotel, a five star luxury apartment hotel on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, which is a major supporter of the match.

For more information about the Classic All Blacks visit www.classicallblacks.com. For more information about Queenstown visit www.queenstownNZ.co.nz.

Full French Classics squad:
Abderrahmane Agueb, David Auradou, Serge Betsen, Pascal Bomati, David Bory, Frédéric Caillat, Franck Cather, Franck Comba, Gilles Darlet, Marc De Rougemont, Saïd Filali, Romain Froment, Philippe Gordo, Jean Philippe Lacoste, Patrick Ladouce, Eric Lecomte, Emmanuel Menieu, Gérald Orsoni, Yannick Saladle, Régis Saunier, Willy Taofifenua, Rémy Vigneaux.

Full Classic All Blacks squad:Christian Cullen, Glen Osborne, Jeff Wilson, Karl Te Nana, Tony Marsh, Keith Lowen, Charlie Hore, Andrew Mehrtens, Jason Spice, Rhys Duggan, Scott Robertson, Gus Collins, Dion Muir, Reuben Thorne, Kees Meeuws, Kelvin Middleton, Matt Sexton, Olo Brown, Charlie Reichmann, Simon Maling, Jay Williams, Dustin Watts, Adam Parker.

Essential match info:
• ‘Curtain raisers’ start at 11am and the Classics match kicks off at 3pm.
• A limited number of general admission tickets can still be pre-purchased via the Ticketek website www.ticketek.co.nz.
• The remainder (4,750) of the general admission tickets will be sold at the gate on game day. Children aged 16 and under can attend the game for free.
• Recreation Ground capacity: 7,000 people

© Scoop Media

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