Courtenay Coetzee and Ryan Shutte both hail from South Africa, but only one of them will be backing their homeland’s team this week.
The Black Caps will take on the Proteas this week at Tauranga’s Bay Oval, in the first test on Kiwi soil for the third edition of the World Test Championship.
The Tauranga men both call New Zealand home but Shutte now firmly supports his adopted home country in all things sports.
Ryan Shutte (left) and Courtenay Coetzee proudly display their friendly rivalry for the upcoming test match. Photo / Alex Cairns
Shutte has played cricket for Northern Districts and looks forward to cheering on some of his former teammates, such as Trent Boult and test captain Tim Southee.
After the defeat in last year’s Rugby World Cup final, he would like to see New Zealand take home the trophy next week.
“It’d be great to get one back, otherwise Courtenay will definitely rub it in,” he said.
Coetzee said it was all light-hearted, shortly before teasing his mate about betraying his roots.
Day one of the match kicks off on Sunday and runs through till Thursday evening.
According to New Zealand Cricket (NZC), hometown heroes Kane Williamson and Neil Wagner will be taking to the pitch, along with Rachin Ravindra, who was awarded the International Cricket Council’s 2023 Emerging Player of the Year.
New Zealand's Kane Williamson is expected to fit to play in the upcoming test. Photo / Photosport
Black Cap fast-bowler Kyle Jamieson will be playing his first home game since 2022.
At 6ft 8in, Jamieson is one of the tallest bowlers on the circuit.
NZC communications manager Eddy Bramley said the South African team was “relatively unique for this test match”.
“There are seven players in the team making their test debut. That’s quite a high proportion for an international match.”
With MetService forecasting fine weather and temperatures of up to 28C, spectators are invited to bring a picnic lunch or make the most of the food trucks on-site.
Spectators at Bay Oval. Photo / Andrew Warner
Bay Oval general manager Kelvin Jones said ticket sales were going well, but there were still some available.
“Due to the good weather forecast, we are bound to get a good number of walk-ups on the day.”
Jones has seen an increase in popularity of the sport over the past few years, with four out of the five upcoming matches in the T20 Series against Pakistan selling out.
“With cricket being screened free on TV and more people watching, we’re now seeing a real resurgence of interest in the sport.”
Tauranga City Council general manager of community services Barbara Dempsey said such events were valuable to the city, both economically and socially.
A council-commissioned evaluation of last year’s test match between the Black Caps and England “showed that the test brought $1.9 million net benefit to the city”.
NZ vs South Africa
- Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
- Sunday, February 4 - Thursday, February 8
- Single-day pass or match pass available
- Children 4-14 free with every full-price adult ticket on Waitangi Day
- Tickets at tickets.nzc.nz
Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you