France legends Damien Traille and Imanol Harinordoquy boost Pyrenees’ HKFC Tens bid
Annual 10-a-side tournament takes place at Hong Kong Football Club from April 5-6 ahead of the Hong Kong Sevens
Damien Traille will captain Pyrenees in next month’s HKFC Tens, while his long-time France teammate Imanol Harinordoquy and former World Rugby Player of the Year nominee will co-coach the team alongside Yannick Vignette.
Both Traille and Harinordoquy retired after last season’s Top 14 and the two France legends will add vast experience to Pyrenees as the French touring team compete in the 10-a-side tournament at Hong Kong Football Club for a 10th straight year.
Traille and Harinordoquy, both 37, are among France’s top 10 most capped internationals.
The pair played together for club and country for much of their professional career, including at three Rugby World Cups and during three Six Nations grand slams.
They will soon link up in Hong Kong at the 16-team HKFC Tens, which will be held from April 5-6, ahead of the Hong Kong Sevens.
“I’m flattered to be invited by Pyrenees to play in the HKFC Tens, especially as it’s the team’s 10th appearance in Hong Kong,” Traille said.
“The tournament has a strong reputation and many top internationals have played in it, so I’m looking forward to experiencing what makes it so special. Pyrenees won the bowl last year and I know they want to win another trophy this year.”
Classic Wallabies team to feature at Hong Kong Tens with former Australia test stars in selection mix
France’s sixth most capped international, Traille scored 14 tries in 86 tests from 2001 to 2011, playing mostly as a centre but also at full back and fly half.
Harinordoquy was a renowned number eight, scoring 13 tries in 82 tests from 2002 to 2012, and was the only northern-hemisphere nominee for the 2010 World Rugby Player award won by Richie McCaw.
Traille and Harinordoquy were teammates as France reached the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cups in 2003 and 2007, and then the final in Auckland in 2011, where Les Bleus lost 8-7 to hosts New Zealand after an epic battle.
Harinordoquy helped France win the Six Nations four times in 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2010, including the grand slams of 2002, 2004 and 2010, while Traille was part of the Six Nations-winning squad in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2007.
The two France icons will join a cast of former Australia internationals at the HKFC Tens, where the Justin Harrison-coached Classic Wallabies will debut with a side strengthened by Australia Sevens and Australia U20 players.
Defending champions Penguin International, 2016 runners-up Samurai International, three-time champions Asia-Pacific Dragons and two-time finalists Tradition YCAC will be among the favourites, as the ‘big four’ have dominated the cup competition in recent years.