BRISBANE 10s: Veterans get in on the act
The Blues, featuring 42-year-old All Black Carlos Spencer, the Crusaders and Liam Messam's Chiefs were among the teams to beat after the opening stage of the two-day tournament at Suncorp Stadium.
Both are undefeated after two pool games, with the Blues tallying the tournament's highest single game score in their 47-10 demolition of the Wild Knights from Japan.
Wildcards Spencer, Adam Freier (Rebels), Pita Alatini (Highlanders), Drew Mitchell (Waratahs) and Carl Hayman (Pau) were barely sighted on the opening day.
The Brumbies' Andrew Walker, however, looked like he never left the franchise.
His silky hands and ability to materialize in the right place at the right time have never left the 44-year-old.
Spencer booted three conversions in his side's romp against the Wild Knights.
He spent most of his second-half minutes anchored to the wing, but it would have warmed the hearts of the Blues fans to see him once more in the jersey he served with distinction in Super Rugby.
"I've been looking forward to this for a long time," said the 35-Test All Black.
"To get out there with so many youngsters, it's been awesome.
"I reckon this game would have suited me back in the day.
"Being back in this environment is a privilege."
Another former All Black, Conrad Smith, is no wildcard, still among a handful of Kiwis representing Pau.
It was a tough night for his outfit, losing matches against the Waratahs (31-10) and the Chiefs (31-7) but he relished the opportunity to face some old mates for the last time.
"It's a bit too fast, especially for a 36-year-old. I tried to slow it down as much as I could but it's a great concept," Smith said.
"Coming back here and seeing guys like Messam, some of the coaches are closer to our age than the payers.
"When you're playing in France you miss that."
While the Crusaders fielded a squad barely recognisable from its great teams of the past, they signed off on the opening day as the team to beat.
In their two games, they conceded just seven points, while amassing 53.
Of the Australian teams, the Rebels, Waratahs and Brumbies each claimed one win, while the Reds finished the night winless.
The Waratahs were the first Australian Super Rugby outfit to post a win after turning on the afterburners against Ben Mowen's Pau.
Youngster Mack Mason turned in a slick performance as he targets the Waratahs' flyhalf role, having a hand in everything as his side notched a 31-10 win against the French side.
His deft right-footed grubber for Jake Gordon's first-half try put the Waratahs out of reach, while the playmaker looked confident with every touch.
Japan's Wild Knights had earlier opened the two-day tournament with a thrilling 19-17 win against the Melbourne Rebels.
Yoshikazu Fujita scored a last-minute try to secure the win.
Earlier, the Rebels had control of the match after two tries to forward Sama Malolo.
The Wild Knights clawed back from behind despite losing their Australian forward Daniel Heenan to a leg injury.
Home side the Reds suffered a disappointing opening to their campaign when they were downed 29-7 by the Blues from Auckland.
Melani Nanai scored a double against a Queensland outfit that struggled to capitalize on their opportunities.
Day One results:
Wild Knights 19 Rebels 17
Blues 29 Reds 7
Blues 47 Wild Knights 10
Rebels 21 Reds 17
Waratahs 31 Pau 10
Chiefs 17 Highlanders 12
Highlanders 12 Waratahs 10
Chiefs 31 Pau 7
Brumbies 17 Fiji 12
Crusaders 22 Hurricanes 0
Hurricanes 12 Fiji 5
Brumbies 7 Crusaders 31
Forwards: James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Sef Fa'agase, JP Smith, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Andrew Ready, Angus Blyth, Harry Hockings, Kane Douglas, Angus Scott-Young, Michael Gunn, Liam Wright, Tai Ford, Reece Hewat
Backs: James Tuttle, Moses Sorovi, Tate McDermott, Hamish Stewart, Nick Jooste, Teti Tela, Tony Hunt, Samu Kerevi (captain), Filipo Daugunu ,Jayden Ngamanu, Izaia Perese, Lachlan Maranta
SECTION PALOISE (PAU)
Conrad Smith, Colin Slade, Ben Mowen, Steffon Armitage, Thomas Taylor, Lourens Adriaanse, Frank Halai, Jamie Mackintosh, Ignacio Calles, Lucas Rey Quentin Lespiauq, Jeremy Hurou, Daniel Ramsay, Giovanni Habel Kuffner, Pierrick Gunther, Baptiste Pesenti, Martin Puech, Thibault Daubagna, Clovis Lebail, Bastien Pourailly, Brandon Fajardo, Mathias Colombet, Watisoni Votu, Florian Nicot, Carl Hayman
Shohei Hirano, Atsushi Sakate, Asaeli Ai Valu, Ryota Hasegawa, Daniel Heenan, Ben Gunter, Yuji Shimogama, Ryu Koliniasi Holani, Keisuke Uchida, Berrick Barnes, Kenki Fukuoka, Rikiya Matsuda, Yasutaka Sasakura, Akitito Yamada, Digby Ioane, Jack Cornelsen, Emersen Tamura, Masaki Tani, Tevita Tupou, Takuya Yamasawa, Taiki Koyama, Iori Kaji, Yoshikazu Fujita, Yuga Hyakutake, Ryuji Noguchi, Kentaro Kodama
Forwards: Aki Sieuli, Greg Pleasants-Tate, Tyrel Lomax, Alex Ainley, Paripari Parkinson, Elliot Dixon, Dan Pryor, Shannon Frizell, Luke Whitelock, Dillon Hunt, Marino Mikaele Tu'u, Kalolo Tuiloma, Guy Millar, Ash Dixon, Josh Dickson
Backs: Kayne Hammington, Josh Renton, Josh Ioane, Fletcher Smith , Tevita Nabura,Teihorangi Walden, Ryan Tongia, Josh McKay, Richard Buckman, Terrance Hepetema, Pita Alatini
Aidan Ross, Liam Polwart, Sosefo Kautai, Michael Allardice, Lachlan McWhannel, Mitchell Brown, Mitchell Karpik, Liam Messam(captain), Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Marty Mckenzie, Solomon Alaimalo, Charlie Ngatai, Tim Nanai-Williams (captain), Toni Pulu, Shaun Stevenson, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Angus Ta'avao, Atunaisa Moli, Taleni Seu, Lachlan Boshier, Jonathan Taumateine, Tiaan Falcon, Johnny Fa'auli, Alex Nankivell
Forwards: Robbie Abel, Ben Alexander, Richie Arnold, Rory Arnold, Tom Cusack, Blake Enever, Mees Erasmus, Lolo Fakaosilea, Leslie Leulua'iali'i-Makin, Lachlan McCaffrey, Connal McInerney, Faalelei Sione, Darcy Swain, Rob Valetini.
Backs: James Dargaville, Isaak Fines, Kyle Godwin, Jordan Jackson-Hope, Ryan Lonergan, Matthew Lucas, Andrew Muirhead, Chance Peni, Henry Speight, Lausii Taliauli, James Verity-Amm, Andrew Walker (wildcard)
Jock Armstrong, Duncan Chubb, Jack Debreczeni, Colby Fainga'a, Sam Figg, Adam Freier, Will Genia*, Harrison Goddard, Esei Ha'angana, David Horwitz, Trevor Hosea, Henry Hutchison, Latu Latunipulu, Sama Malolo, Tom Moloney, Hunter Paisami, Rowan Perry, Kitione Ratu, Dom Shipperley, Alex Toolis, Andrew Tuala, Sione Tuipulotu, Ikapote Tupai, Semisi Tupou, Mahe Vailanu, Sam Ward
Caleb Clarke, Kurt Ecklund, Jordan Hyland, Akira Ioane, Antonio Kirikiri, Orbyn Leger, George Moala, Melanai Nanai, Sam Nock, Jordan Olsen, Dalton Papalii, Jacob Pierce, Marcel Renata, Jonathan Ruru, Hoskins Sotutu, Carlos Spencer, Michael Tamoaeita, Murphy Taramai, Tanielu Telea, Jordan Trainor, Tamati Tua, Jimmy Tupou (captain).
Cam Clark, Damien Fitzpatrick (captain), Lalakai Foketi, Jake Gordon, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Maclean Jones, Tolu Latu, Mack Mason, Ryan McCauley, Kelly Meafua, Will Miller, Drew Mitchell, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Alex Newsome, Rory O'Connor, Curtis Rona, JP Sauni, Mitch Short, Irae Simone, Lachlan Swinton, Cody Walker
Joeli Veitayaki, Rautnaisa Navuma, Mosese Ducivaki, Viliame Rarasea, Filimoni Seru Camaitovu, Mosese Ducivaki, Peni Raidre, Albert Tuisue, Serupepeli Vularika, Jone Manu Taufaga, Aparosa Tabulawaki, Timoci Senaite, Ifereimi Tovilevu, Lepani Rayala, Inia Tawalo, Veremalua Vugakoto, Kalivate Tawake, Vesi Rarawa, Timoci Sauvoli, Levani Kurimudu, Frank Lomani, Enele Malele, Chris Kurandrani, Penasio Kunabuli, Fabiano Rogovakalali, Eroni Mawi
Jone Macilai, George Bridge (captain) Manasa Mataele, Braydon Ennor, Jack Stratton, Zach McKay, Brett Cameron, Tima Faingaanuku, Ngane Punivai, Richard Judd, Andrew Makalio, Billy Harmon, Ethan Blackadder, Tom Christie, Jordan Manihera, Hamish Dalzell, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Ben Morris, Dylan Nel, Harrison Allen, Nathan Vella
Julian Savea (captain), Brayden lose, Ben Lam, Alex Fidow, Fraser Armstrong, Tolu Fahamokioa, James O'Rielly, Murray Douglas, Du'Plessis Kirifi, Will Mangos, Liam Mitchell, Sam Henwood, Chase Tiatia, Finlay Christie, Jamie Booth, Losi Filipo, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Malo Tuitama, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Jonah Lowe, Trent Renata, Hunter Prescott