John Smit the latest former Saracens man to join Worldwide Currencies Cup
- Credit: Matthew Impey
Ex-South Africa hooker to take part in charity game at Allianz Park on June 30
Former Saracens hooker John Smit has joined the rugby greats taking part in the Worldwide Currencies Cup at Allianz Park in London on June 30.
The ex-South Africa captain — a World Cup winner in 2007 — returns to Saracens for the all-star game for Restart Rugby and the #LiftTheWeight mental health awareness campaign.
Smit is accompanied by an overseas contingent including fellow South Africans Thinus Delport and Neil de Kock.
Also due to take part are Australian lock Justin Harrison and former Ireland fly half Paddy Wallace.
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Former England stars taking part include fullback Iain Balshaw, winger Mark Cueto, lock Danny Grewcock, hooker Lee Mears and scrum half Shaun Perry.
And among the 20 Saracens names confirmed are the likes of Nick Lloyd, Gordon Ross, Fabio Ongaro, Nils Mordt, Petrus du Plessis, Dan Scarbrough, Ben Skirving, Michael Owen and Hugh Vyvyan.
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The #LiftTheWeight campaign, run by the Rugby Players Association (RPA), aims to remove the stigma around mental health issues and encourage past and present players not to suffer in silence.
“If you’re recently retired it’s a major change in migrating to the real world,” said Smit.
“Rugby’s a very different life. We love it and then we have to come away from it.
“Rugby players maybe push it under the carpet. The campaign helps make it easier to talk about it – it’s a call to arms and it is another way to help your teammates.”
Smith hasn’t played since retiring at the end of the 2013 season and spending two years as chief executive of the Sharks in Durban.
“The idea of running into the boys doesn’t excite me too much,” he said.
“But what we’re doing is pretty special and making a difference is something that’s very important.”
The Worldwide Currencies Cup match kicks off the Sevens and the City sports and music festival curated by Matt Stevens and David Strettle.
Its South African flavour is added to by Saturday night’s music headliners GoldFish, the electronica duo from Cape Town with a global following.
For tickets, as well as more information about the event, go to sevensandthecity.com.