Golden Oldies: This team of over 35’s could do serious damage…

6. George Smith (38)

The scourge of the Lions at the age of 20 and more than 100 caps to his name for the Wallabies before he was 30. An absolute pest and nuisance at the breakdown, made a living out of slowing down or stealing opposition ball. Now at Bristol.

7. Schalk Burger (35)

One of the most physical flankers in the game, he was dubbed a “threshing machine” by former Springboks coach Nick Mallett. Came back from injury and life-threatening illness to enjoy an immense international swansong at the 2015 World Cup. A carrying king who is still playing for Saracens.

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 17: a jubilant Schalk Burger of South Africa (R) and Fourie Du Preez of South Africa enbrace following victory in the 2015 Rugby World Cup Quarter Final match between South Africa and Wales at Twickenham Stadium on October 17, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chris Lee – World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

8. Sergio Parisse (35)

There’s no such thing as a one-man team in rugby, but it’s got pretty close to that with Italy at times over the past decade or so. The Argentinian-born No.8 has been a key figure for the Azzurri since making an eye-catching debut as an 18-year-old against New Zealand in 2002.

Big and strong, he has the size to make holes in any defence, but also has hands to die for and the subtlety to execute passes out of the back of his hand as though he were a fly-half. Add to that an astute brain for the game and an absolute refusal to bend the knee and you have pretty much the complete rugby player.

9.   Ruan Pienaar (35)

10. Dan Carter (37)

Dan the man. The greatest back of the professional era, his record speaks for itself. Way out in front as the leading points scorer in international rugby history, with 1,598 points from his 112 caps. Throw in a further 1,708 points for the Crusaders and the fly-half’s impact on the game cannot be emphasised enough. He’s now still going in Japan.

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 31: Dan Carter of the New Zealand All Blacks kicks a penalty during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham Stadium on October 31, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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