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Rugby has been played in Bermuda since the 19th-century. American club visits to the Island began in the 1930s when Harvard, Yale, and Princeton 15s journeyed south, usually in March or April for some competitive rugby and some fun.
The touring continued into the 1950s with Dartmouth founding a rugby club mainly to take an athletic spring break where the college co-eds also came on vacation.
When rugby proliferated in the 1960s, many eastern clubs scheduled their first ever tours to Bermuda with games against the local Bermuda RFU and the Police. Unfortunately, year after year witnessed negative off-pitch behavior and these club tours dwindled.
But in 1987, the Old Wales XV came to Bermuda, and left the locals with an intriguing idea; run a senior (over 33) event for former internationals and top club senior players.
In 1988, a year later saw the the first Bermuda Classic Tournament. In November 1997, the Classic British Lions defeated Argentina 36-10 to take the crown. The Lions became the fourth squad to win here. New Zealand had dominated the event with six prior victories.
In the 1997 event, South Africa achieved third place, defeating New Zealand 35-25.
Team America won the Plate trophy for the second time, winning against hosts Bermuda 12-7, after having beaten Canada 27-12. Among some of the former Eagles with caps were Bill LeClerc, Gerry McDonald, Lance Magna, Mark Sawicki, Brian Vizard, Mark Gale, and Mike Waterman. The US squad also included 16 territorial level ruggers.
Games were played at the National Sports Grounds with 3,000 attendees.
(N.B. The 2016 Bermuda Classic commences November 6.)