The most powerful rugby club in Australia and their 79-year-old star

By Chris Dutton
Updated April 23 2018 - 8:48pm, first published March 27 2014 - 5:52pm

World Cup winners, rugby league legends, politicians and Defence Force chiefs - meet the most powerful rugby team in Australia: the ACT Veterans. After 20 years of getting around the field, plus raising $170,000 for charity since 2006, the Veterans now have an ally in the highest of places - Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove. The Veterans comprise players aged 35 or older and are celebrating their 20th anniversary. Past players include Cosgrove - who was sworn in as Australia's representative to the Queen on Friday - Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham, Canberra Raiders great Mal Meninga, Australian NRL coach Tim Sheens, former ACT Liberal leader Bill Stefaniak and Defence Force boss David Hurley. But perhaps the most popular member is Ian Wells, who at 79 is the Veterans' oldest player and still gets man of the match at every Brumbies curtain-raiser game. Wells, who turns 80 in April, is the Veterans' highest try-scorer, a stalwart of Easts and a former military pilot. Former Royals player John Hillier started the Veterans in 1994. "The score is always 9-9, there's no pushing in scrums, there are three 20-minute periods instead of two halves, over-vigorous play is not tolerated and Ian Wells also gets man of the match at Canberra Stadium," Hillier said of the rules."Sir Peter Cosgrove was our patron in chief ... we are especially chuffed Peter has agreed to maintain the connection with us. But for now I think he's busy settling into Yarralumla."

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