All Blacks legend set to line up Global Tens
POPULAR former All Black Carlos Spencer is lending his weight as a wildcard to the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens at Suncorp Stadium on February 9-10.
Kiwi teams chose not to activate the wildcard option at this year's inaugural tournament but the Auckland-based Blues have seen the value of involving one of the Super Rugby club's greats.
Spencer may be 42 but the 35-Test All Black was playing Super Rugby as recently as 2010 and has kept himself fit.
"The body's pretty good," he said. "I'm actually training for the Cape Epic (an eight-day, 700km mountain bike race through South Africa's Western Cape) in March next year, so I'm doing a bit of cycling at the moment," Spencer said.
Spencer now lives in South Africa with his young family but the chance to don the Blues jersey again will be a thrill for the playmaker who was integral to three Super Rugby title triumphs (1996, 1997 and 2003) in the colours.
"It's going to be amazing to put that Blues jersey back on again," Spencer said. "I am very excited to be running around with a bunch of young guys again.
"I've played a couple of social rugby events over the last couple of years but these guys are a lot fitter, faster and stronger. I'll be relying on the young guys to put me into space and then back me up so I can offload it. I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Spencer played 97 times for the Blues between 1996 and 2005..
Spencer's selection comes following an online public poll in which fans made him their standout pick.
"Carlos is one of the greatest Blues players ever and our fans voted overwhelmingly that it was him they wanted as our wildcard in Brisbane," Blues chief executive Michael Redman said.
Andrew Walker, Radike Samo, with the hit of the tournament, Morgan Turinui and Lote Tuqiri were among the popular wildcards at this year's inaugural Tens while former Wallabies fullback Chris Latham will strive to play in 2018 after a hamstring injury ruled him out.
Crowd-pleasers Julian Savea, Kurtley Beale, Conrad Smith and Liam Messam are among the cast who have committed to play in the 2018 tournament.
The 2018 tournament has swung into an appealing day-night format and will pit Samoa, Fiji, French club Pau and Japan's Panasonic Wild Knights against all the Kiwi and Australian Super Rugby teams.