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Damons set to return against Germany

2014-06-03 07:37
Sulette Damons ready for the Germans. Photograph:
Sulette Damons ready for the Germans. Photograph: Rodrigo Jaramillo.
Cape Town - The national teams go into their second Group B matches respectively at the World Cup in The Hague, Holland today. The Investec South Africa women’s hockey team take on world number six Germany at 10.30am at the Kyocera Stadium, while the SA men’s side face the sixth-ranked New Zealand Black Sticks at the Greenfields Stadium at 2.30pm.

The world’s 11th ranked SA women will welcome back super-fast striker Sulette Damons after the Graaff-Reinet born and bred sharpshooter sat out of Sunday’s opener against reigning world champs Argentina, which the girls in green and gold lost 4-1.

Resting what Damons described as “just an injury niggle” was a wise precaution as SA go into their remaining Group B clashes where they will have a more realistic chance of picking up log points.

After world number six Germany, the SA ladies face world number three England at 2.30pm on Friday, world number seven China at 5.30pm on Sunday and the world’s 10th- ranked USA in their final Group match at 2.30pm next Tuesday.

Head coach Giles Bonnet said SA defended well in the first half against Argentina while in the latter part of the second half the South Africans brought the ball forward in promising fashion, “but weren’t able to create enough out of the possession we had in and around the circle. It’s an area in which we have got to keep improving.”

The SA women had no active training Tuesday and should be hungry to face the Germans, who weren’t convincing in their 1-1 draw with China.

The world’s 12th ranked SA men did have a training day as head coach Fabian Gregory looked to iron out some of the hiccups from Sunday’s 4-0 defeat by 2008 and 2012 Olympic champions Germany. The New Zealanders edged South Korea 2-1 on Sunday.

“Our defence was better than in our recent matches against Germany and we might have gone into half-time 1-0 down instead of two,” said the coach, who added that Tuesday’s training and discussions were about looking at how to make more of possession in the attacking third, as well as ways to cut out the dangerous diagonal balls from left to right that were the team’s biggest concern on Sunday.

After meeting New Zealand today, the SA men’s remaining Group B matches see the African champions facing world number seven South Korea at 5.30pm on Friday; world three Holland at 7.45pm on Sunday and world number 11 Argentina at 10.30am next Tuesday.

What both SA head coaches will also be looking to see is an improvement in winning penalty corners. Neither SA side won a PC on Sunday, which negates South Africa’s strength in this facet of play.

Read more on:    international  |  hockey

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