The 2020 Mitre 10 Cup boasts a lot of experienced players, many returning to New Zealand after stints overseas.
This is a XV of the oldest players (over 30), plus reserves, in the 2020 Mitre 10 Cup.
Southland Stags' cult hero Jason 'Cabbage' Rutledge is the oldest, just short of 43 years old.
Rutledge also has the most provincial caps and is sitting at 141, all of which are for Southland.
New Otago prop Jamie Mackintosh has the second most provincial caps with 123, also all for Southland.
Other players in the 100 provincial cap club are:
Ash Dixon – 122 caps
Trent Renata – 114 caps
Alex Ainley – 109 caps
Ben May – 105 caps
Northland prop/hooker Ross Wright is also closing in on 100 provincial caps with 99 to his name.
Statistics are correct as of September 30, 2020.
EVERGREEN XV: *denotes internationally capped
1. SONA TAUMALOLO* – 38
HAWKE'S BAY MAGPIES
BORN: 1981 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2005 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Hawke's Bay (61)
Taumalolo turns 39 on November 13 and returns to Hawke's Bay for the first time since 2011.
He was somewhat of a cult hero for the Magpies and the Chiefs, known as a hard-running, try-scoring prop.
The former Tongan international is the uncle of current Tongan prop Ben Tameifuna.
2. JASON RUTLEDGE – 42
BORN: 1977 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2000 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Southland (141)
After a string of injuries in the Southland hooker stocks the 42-year-old veteran was brought into the 2020 squad.
Rutledge came off the bench to replace dual try-scorer Greg Pleasants-Tate in Southland's round one victory over Hawke's Bay.
He broke a 112-year-old record becoming the oldest player to ever represent the Stags. Isaac Jenkins, a utility back, was the previous eldest at 40 years old during his last match in 1908.
Rutledge first débuted for the Southland team 20 years ago. He will turn 43 on December 15.
3. BEN MAY – 37
BORN: 1982 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2004 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Nelson Bays (9), Tasman (25), Waikato (35), Wellington (7), Hawke's Bay (27), Taranaki (2)
May has certainly been around the traps in New Zealand rugby representing six provincial sides.
The only front rower that I have ever seen box kick turns 38 on October 13 and has still been a starter in the Hurricanes Super Rugby squad this year.
4. ALEX AINLEY – 39
BORN: 1981 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2005 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Marlborough (7), Tasman (94), Bay of Plenty (8)
A Mako cult hero, Ainley returns to Tasman after a stint last year with Bay of Plenty.
A former captain of the Mako, Ainley has played over a century of provincial games and was an original Mako squad member in 2006.
After depletion in the Crusaders locking stocks, the 39-year-old was called in to cover during Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa.
5. BRYN EVANS* – 35
HAWKE'S BAY MAGPIES
BORN: 1984 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2003 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Hawke's Bay (77)
Evans returns to the Bay after a nine-year absence to join his brother Gareth in the Magpies squad.
In 2009, Evans played two tests for the All Blacks before succumbing to a back injury.
Many will remember him for captaining the Magpies to win the ITM Cup Championship Trophy in 2011.
6. ADAM THOMSON* – 38
BORN: 1982 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2004 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Otago (62), Waikato (3)
Former All Black Adam Thomson couldn't even walk due to a painful spine infection in 2017.
Now, the 38-year-old lines up for Waikato after several Chiefs appearances this season.
Thomson started at blindside flanker in Waikato's round one victory scoring a try on his début.
Thomson sits in fifth on the all-time try-scorers list for the Highlanders with 21, the most by a forward.
7. LIAM MESSAM* – 36
BORN: 1984 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2003 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Waikato (85)
The most capped Chiefs' player of all-time, Messam returns to the Waikato this season after several years overseas.
In the club season, Messam played a match for Raglan in the unfamiliar position of centre.
8. KIERAN READ* - 34
COUNTIES MANUKAU STEELERS
BORN: 1985 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2006 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Canterbury (37), Counties Manukau (2)
The Rugby World Cup winning skipper makes a long-time dream come true this season representing the Steelers.
It was also a proud moment for Read's father who presented him with his début jersey in round one.
Read turns 35 on October 26.
9. WARWICK LAHMERT – 33
BORN: 1987 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2007 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Horowhenua Kapiti (26), Taranaki (9)
Although only reaching 34 provincial caps to date, Lahmert is a seasoned campaigner playing for Horowhenua Kapiti over four seasons and now in his fourth season with Taranaki.
Lahmert is one of the most versatile players around having played wing, first five-eighth, second five-eighth and most notably halfback.
He has represented New Zealand Sevens (five tournaments) and also England Sevens, captaining them on several occasions.
10. BADEN KERR – 31
COUNTIES MANUKAU STEELERS
BORN: 1989 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2010 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Counties Manukau (42)
After several spells with Counties Manukau over the past decade, Kerr returns from overseas to add depth into the Steelers backline.
11. PATRICK OSBORNE* – 33
BORN: 1987 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2010 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Canterbury (59), Waikato (1)
Osborne made the move north to Waikato in 2020 after 59 caps for Canterbury.
The Fijian international played for the Chiefs in the 2013 Super Rugby completion, so the Waikato has some familiarity to him.
12. RENE RANGER* – 34
BORN: 1986 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2006 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Northland (91)
Ranger returns to the Taniwha in 2020 after being ruled out of last season with an ACL injury.
The former All Black has been a stalwart in the Northland backline for the main part of 14 years.
If he plays every game this season he will fall just short of 100 games for the province.
13. ASAELI TIKOIROTUMA* – 34
BORN: 1986 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2005 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Wanganui (39), Manawatū (27), North Harbour (11)
Another Fijian international, Tikoirotuma first appeared in 2005 for Wanganui where he stayed until 2010 playing 39 games.
Known as a prolific try-scorer, Tikoirotuma was part of the Chiefs back to back Super Rugby titles in 2012-2013.
14. KURT BAKER – 31
HAWKE'S BAY MAGPIES
BORN: 1988 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2008 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Manawatū (22), Taranaki (57), Hawke's Bay (3)
Kurt Baker has been a mainstay in the New Zealand Sevens outfit over the past decade and will be remembered as one of the greats.
Baker turns 32 on October 7 and has had a strong start to 2020 in his first season at the Magpies.
15. TRENT RENATA – 32
BORN: 1988 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2008 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Waikato (66), Otago (9), Tasman (10), Wellington (29)
Renata has more than 100 provincial caps to his name over several provinces since 2008.
A versatile fullback and first five-eighth, Renata has become a fixture within the Wellington Lions match day 23 over the past few years.
16. JOE ROYAL – 35
BORN: 1985 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2013 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Bay of Plenty (36), Counties Manukau (30)
17. JAMIE MACKINTOSH* – 35
BORN: 1985 PROVINICAL DÉBUT: 2004 PROVINICAL CAPS: Southland (123)
18. ROSS GELDENHUYS – 37
BAY OF PLENTY STEAMERS
BORN: 1983 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2014 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Tasman (33), Bay of Plenty (21)
19. LUKE ROMANO* – 34
BORN: 1986 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2009 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Canterbury (52)
20. NASI MANU* – 32
BORN: 1988 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2007 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Canterbury (72), Otago (3)
21. AARON SMITH* – 31
BORN: 1988 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2008 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Manawatū (45)
22. CODEY REI – 31
BORN: 1989 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2010 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Taranaki (28), North Harbour (22)
23. MATTY WRIGHT – 32
BORN: 1988 PROVINCIAL DÉBUT: 2012 PROVINCIAL CAPS: Northland (50)