South Africa’s John Smit has joined the rugby greats taking part in the Worldwide Currencies Cup at Allianz Park in London on Friday, June 30.
The former Springboks 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, Australia’s Justin Harrison, Wales’s Michael Owen, Ireland’s Paddy Wallace, Scotland’s Gordon Ross and Italy’s Fabio Ongaro.
Former England stars taking part include Iain Balshaw, Mark Cueto, Danny Grewcock, Lee Mears and Shaun Perry.
And among the 20 Saracens names confirmed are the likes of Nick Lloyd, Nils Mordt, Petrus du Plessis, Dan Scarbrough, Ben Skirving and Hugh Vyvyan.
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 go to sevensandthecity.com