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Chartis Cup: Pat Lam and George Smith to Provide Star Power in Dugout

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Blues coach Pat Lam and Wallabies legend George Smith will take charge of the BGC APBs for their historic Chartis Cup clash against English giants Saracens in Hong Kong next week.

Samoa icon Lam will be head coach with Smith veteran of 110 tests for Australia and the most-capped forward in rugby history acting as his assistant.

The star-studded BGC APBs will face Saracens at Hong Kong Stadium on Saturday, 9 June 2012. The kick off is at 18:00.

Im really looking forward to being involved with a BGC APBs squad that contains so many world-class players, said Lam. As a coach, you want to work with the best talent available and the line-up that has been assembled for the Chartis Cup certainly fits that description. We are relishing the challenge posed by the famous Saracens and it promises to be a fantastic game of rugby.

Lams outstanding playing career as a rugged No.8 included captaining Samoa, appearing in three World Cups and playing in both Super Rugby and the English Premiership. He coached Auckland in New Zealands National Provincial Championship before moving into Super Rugby and taking charge of the Auckland-based Blues in 2009.

Smith, meanwhile, enjoyed a stellar 10-year career as a flanker with the Brumbies and Wallabies, including being the only player to twice win the John Eales Medal, given to Australian rugbys player of the year. Since retiring from internationals in 2010 he has played club rugby in France and Japan.

I love the APBs concept and when the chance came to be involved, I jumped at it, said Smith. Many of the BGC APBs squad are old friends and respected opponents and Im relishing the opportunity to meet up with them for a great rugby occasion.

The BGC APBs squad includes New Zealand greats Mils Muliaina, Jerry Collins, Sitiveni Sivivatu and Rico Gear; Welsh legends Shane Williams and Martyn Williams; and the Tuilagi brothers, Alesana and Henry, from Samoa.

For Saracens, former England skipper Steve Borthwick will lead a powerful team that includes 2007 World Cup-winning Springbok captain John Smit and England internationals Richard Wigglesworth and Hugh Vyvyan.

It is fantastic for the Hong Kong rugby community to have the chance to see so many great players in one match, said Trevor Gregory, chairman of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union, which has given the Chartis Cup its official backing. It is another example of how Hong Kong is now firmly established on the global rugby map and the HKRFU is delighted to support this landmark event.

The Chartis Cup will be the centrepiece of a day-long rugby festival at Hong Kong Stadium and nearby So Kon Po Sports Ground that will feature minis and veterans tournaments plus a family-friendly Rugby Village at the Indian Recreation Club that will boast F&B, a childrens play area and big TV screens so fans can watch the days international matches later in the evening.

Admission to the Rugby Village is free. And, as a bonus, the BGC APBs and Saracens players will drop by after the Chartis Cup to mingle with spectators and sign autographs.

We are now in the final stages of preparations and we are looking forward to the teams arriving, starting early next week, said Chartis Cup promoter Jon Phelps.

The Chartis Cup is a charity match, with proceeds going to the Royal Project office in Thailand to help rebuild schools in areas affected by flooding.

Tickets for the Chartis Cup cost HK$300 for adults and HK$50 for children.

See also: 74 High Resolution Pictures from the action at the Chartis Cup 2012.

Chartis Cup 2012 - Interview with Chartis Asia Pacific Chairman, Mr Les Mouat

See more: Videos

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