The McLean Park gates will open at 2.30 pm on Friday, January 17.“I’m a huge rugby fan so I’m looking forward to catching up with the rugby players,” said the retired Sri Lanka international who represented his country in all three formats from 1997 to 2015.“Obviously I have a few friends there, too, so Beaudy [Barrett] was quite excited there the other day that me and Murali are coming down.”
Jayawardene hasn’t received any cheeky messages from the cricketing community yet although Team Cricket captain/coach Stephen Fleming had wanted him to play.“I haven’t played any cricket lately,” said the 42-year-old with a laugh. “I’ll probably have to try to hit a few balls before I get there.”He was always en route to New Zealand as part of the TV commentary team covering the India Twenty20 and ODI series starting late this month. Last year he had done his utmost to be part of the charity clash but had work commitments.
“It’ll be nice to be on the same field again and mostly have fun because it’s for a good cause with the rugby boys so it’ll be nice.”The Black Clash is the brainchild of former Black Caps skipper Fleming and Duco Events founder/director David Higgins. The inaugural event at Hagley Park, Christchurch, last year brought fans together to celebrate both codes to help raise money for the welfare funds for the New Zealand Rugby and Cricket Players Associations.All Black and Hawke’s Bay Magpie Brad Weber as well as retired Israel Dagg have provincial connections with Team Rugby.
Former Black Cap Mathew Sinclair, of Napier, is the home boy in Team Cricket with current CD Stags assistant coach Luke Ronchi who was born in Dannevirke.Team Rugby: Richie McCaw, Israel Dagg, Jason Spice, Ofisa Tonu’u, Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett, Aaron Smith, Brad Weber, Kaylum Boshier, Derren Witcombe, Muttiah Muralitharan, Mahela Jayawardene. Coach/selector: Sir Graham Henry. Team Cricket: Stephen Fleming (coach/captain), Daniel Vettori, Nathan Astle, Grant Elliott, Jacob Oram, Hamish Marshall, Chris Harris, Kyle Mills, Luke Ronchi, Nathan McCullum, Mathew Sinclair, plus an international wildcard to be named.