Jean lauds legacy fixture

Former Springbok captain Jean de Villiers is relishing the prospect of facing the Proteas in the Nelson Mandela Legacy Cup match at Newlands on Thursday.

The match is played to honour the country’s founding president and has the aim of raising substantial funds for the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The national cricket team is made up of several players who recently beat Australia 2-1 in their Test series Down Under. The national rugby team is headed by prominent international stars like Patrick Lambie and Damian de Allende, while they were bolstered earlier this week by the inclusion of former Proteas captain, Graeme Smith, in a player/coach capacity.

It will be his De Villiers's first involvement in the fixture after he sustained injuries prior to the first two editions.

'The first one I felt sick on the day and was unable to play. In the second game I got a small little knee injury a week before so couldn’t play either.

'For me it’s great to be involved in this one. I think the amazing thing about Nelson Mandela is how he united this country. Even though he isn’t with us anymore, he’s still doing it. And even though it’s cricket and rugby and all the fans coming together, I think it just speaks of the legacy of the man, what he stood for and what he is still doing.'

Even though the fixture is expected to be played in a light-hearted climate, De Villiers conceded that no one wanted to lose.

'We’re all competitive by nature, so it should make for a good game,' he added.

Proteas all-rounder JP Duminy said he was also looking forward to the occasion.

'I’ve been part of two games so far, one I was captain and the other I was commentator so it’s good to be a player this time round,' said Duminy.

'It’s all for a good cause and being a South African sportsman it’s always nice to give back to the South African public. So we’re looking forward to it.'

Proteas squad: Hashim Amla (BuildNat Cape Cobras), Mangaliso Mosehle (bizhub Highveld Lions), Faf du Plessis (Multiply Titans), JP Duminy (BuildNat Cape Cobras), David Miller (VKB Knights), Farhaan Behardien (Multiply Titans), Wayne Parnell (BuildNat Cape Cobras), Dwaine Pretorius (bizhub Highveld Lions), Aaron Phangiso (bizhub Highveld Lions), Imran Tahir (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Kyle Abbott (Warriors).

Springbok cricket squad: Tiaan Liebenberg, Pat Lambie (captain), Faf de Klerk, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Graeme Smith, Conrad Jantjes. Sergeal Petersen, Butch James, Damian De Allende, Trevor Nyakane, Jean de Villiers. Not batting: Stephan Dippenaar and Percy Montgomery.

All 13 players in the squad will field, but will use “running substitutes” so there won’t be more than 11 on the field at any given time. Percy Montgomery will only field, and Siya Kolisi is the non-playing reserve / water carrier.

Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/Getty Images

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Jon Cardinelli