Cape Town - In what can be regarded as a massive coup for the Springboks, legendary former South African cricket captain Graeme Smith has agreed to join them for the Nelson Mandela Legacy Cup match against the Proteas in a player/coach capacity.
The T20 match will place at Newlands in Cape Town on Thursday.
And to add to the festivities, Blitzboks captain Philip Snyman and his 15 counterparts from the participating teams in this weekend’s HSBC Cape Town Sevens will in attendance, with a couple of fun activities planned for the dinner break.
Tickets to the Sevens will also be given away at the cricket.
Smith’s inclusion is the final piece in the Bok puzzle for this highly anticipated match - almost two years to the day since the rugby players beat their cricketing counterparts by five wickets at the Wanderers, thanks mainly to 62 runs by Victor Matfield and three wickets apiece by Damian De Allende and Willie le Roux.
Pat Lambie, who will captain the Boks on Thursday, said he will lean heavily on Smith’s experience against the high-flying Proteas. Smith captained the Proteas in 101 Tests and is the most successful Test captain in cricket history, with 50 victories.
“We can’t wait for the challenge and although we know the Proteas will be confident going into this encounter, we can hopefully make a good contest of it,” said Lambie.
“To have Graeme as part of our team is a massive boost and he will definitely play a key role for us with the bat and ball. His International T20 batting average is just shy of 32 and his off-breaks will come in very handy on the Newlands pitch.
“Our technical analysts have been hard at work in the last few days to see if we can find any weaknesses in the Proteas’ armour, but that is easier said than done and we’ll just have to rely on our skills and experience on the day.
“Many of our boys have not played since they left school, but we’re still aiming to upset the odds and make it an enjoyable day for all involved at arguably the prettiest cricket ground in the world.”
Tickets for the match are on sale through www.ticketpro.co.za or at the Newlands ticket office and prices range from R120 to R180.
This is the third edition of this match that honours the country’s founding president and has the aim of raising substantial funds for the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Fans are encouraged to make their donations to the Nelson Mandela Foundation – simply SMS Madiba to 42607 to donate R30 towards the work carried out by the Foundation.
There will be various activities in stadium on match day for fans to get involved and as well as the opportunity to meet some of their cricket and rugby heroes.
The Springbok squad
Damian de Allende
Faf de Klerk
Jean de Villiers
Rohan Janse van Rensburg
Pat Lambie (captain)
Player/coach: Graeme Smith
Non-playing reserve: Siya Kolisi