John Smit Braced for Tough Chartis Cup Encounter on Saturday

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Friday, 8 June 2012

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Saracens star, John Smit, says the quality of opposition in Saturdays Chartis Cup clash in Hong Kong will mean a pretty intense game of rugby.

The English Premiership giants will take on a BGC APBs invitational team packed with World Cup aces, Super Rugby veterans and proven winners.

The opposition is tougher than we would normally have expected for an off-season game, but thats good, because if people come to an event like this they want to see two top teams playing each other, said Smit. The side that the BGC APBs have put together is very good, so its two big teams going head to head and well see a good game. Certainly, it will be a serious encounter. Everyone realises it is going to be pretty intense, you can see that from the level of players on both sides. For the younger guys in our team, when they go out there and see the likes of Mils Muliaina lining up against them, theyll realise this is no festival, its a proper game of rugby.

Saracens will take on the BGC APBs in the Chartis Cup at 18:00 this Saturday (9 June) at Hong Kong Stadium.

Apart from Muliaina 100 caps for New Zealand and a World Cup winner last year the BGC APBs have four other All Blacks in Jerry Collins, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Rico Gear and Troy Flavell.

Their other big names include Welsh heroes Shane Williams and Martyn Williams, England No.8 Nick Easter, Samoa centre Seilala Mapusua and former Japan captain Takuro Miuchi.

Smit the 2007 World Cup-winning Springboks captain will be part of a powerful Saracens team that includes three England internationals in club captain Steve Borthwick, Richard Wigglesworth and Hugh Vyvyan.

Saracens who are making their first competitive appearance in Asia will be hoping for better luck in Saturdays charity game than on their first night in Hong Kong when they attended the famous Happy Valley races.

Five or six of us clubbed together HK$100 each and put it all on the hot tip in the third race, revealed Smit. And guess what? Nothing! So the message is, horse racing still doesnt pay!

Smit, 34, retired from international rugby following last years World Cup as the most-capped player in South Africas history with 111 appearances, including 64 as captain.

He then relocated to England to play for Saracens and has relished the experience. Its been good fun, the last eight or nine months have been really enjoyable, he said. What helps is that theyre a good bunch of lads and the team has done well. My wife and I have two young kids and theyve settled in well so, hopefully, well be staying for a while longer.

The Chartis Cup will be the centrepiece of a day-long rugby festival at Hong Kong Stadium and nearby So Kon Po Recreation Ground that will feature minis and veterans tournaments plus a family-friendly Rugby Village for which admission is free.

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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