SA hockey men beat Chile
Austin Smith (Gallo Images)
Rio de Janeiro - The South Africa men’s hockey team ran away with a 3-0 win over Chile in their World League Round 2 warm-up match here at the Deodoro on Monday.
South Africa had the lion’s share of the first half but were unable to break the deadlock by half-time before cruising in the second period.
The field goals were scored by Julian Hykes
in the 40th minute, Pierre de Voux in the 51st and Clint Panther in the 58th.
SA head coach Charlie Pereira rested top 'keeper Rassie Pieterse, giving Gowan Jones a start, as well as defender Matt Guise-Brown, while midfield dynamo Austin Smith
was thrust straight into action after flying in Monday morning from club commitments in the Netherlands, while striker Lloyd Norris-Jones
was due to arrive from the same country late onMonday night.
World No 2 25 Chile, who ran World League Round 2 favourites Argentina close in a 3-2 defeat in a South American regional final recently, began well but in the third minute Taine Paton
got in a reverse-stick shot after Craig Haley’s set-up, the good work having started down the right by Ollie Whiteley.
South Africa’s first penalty corner (PC) came and went as De Voux and Hykes began putting it together upfront and in the 10th minute Miguel da Graca broke free but shot past the far post. Six minutes later Jonty Robinson
’s neat skills in midfield initiated an attack and Da Graca forced SA’s second PC, Smith’s drag-flick bringing a glove save to the 'keeper’s left.
South Africa appealed for a penalty stroke soon after but to no avail.
Robinson and Hykes worked a move but Da Graca’s shot flew past the wrong side of the far post again. In the 25th minute, Hykes and Robinson combined for Paton to let slip a reverse-stick shot to induce a goalkeeper save while at the other end SA stopper Jones finally got in on the act seconds before the half-time whistle to leave the score 0-0 at the break.
Early in the second half, Smith and Haley brought a double save from the goalkeeper before Tim Drummond showed presence of mind in a tight spot to set up Julian Hykes
for a simple tap-in (1-0) after 40 minutes.
De Voux finished well to make it 2-0 in the 51st minute and three minutes later Jones made a great save low to his right from Chile’s first penalty corner. Then in the 58th Clint Panther made the game safe at 3-0 after excellent SA build-up play.
There were some good moments in defence, too, for SA with Jethro Eustice in particular making a key tackle that prevented a possible goal.
Captain Rhett Halkett
’s SA team open their WLR2 campaign against Brazil at 14:00 (SA time) on Wednesday.
The top two teams at the conclusion of the Rio round-robin tournament will qualify for one of the two World League men’s semi-finals events, which will take place in Rotterdam, Netherlands from June 13 to 23, and in Johor Bahru, Malaysia from June 29-July 7.
Those countries that qualify for the World League semi-finals in the Netherlands and Malaysia will be divided into each eight-team tournament on the basis of their world rankings and the top four in each semi-final event will go through to the eight-team WL finals event early next year.
World No 12 SA beat the USA 3-0 in a warm-up match last Saturday after leading by the same scoreline at half-time.
SA matches (SA time):
Wed 27 Feb vs Brazil (14:00)
Thurs 28 Feb vs USA (16:00)
Sat 2 Mar vs Trinidad & Tobago (16:00)
Sun 3 Mar vs Argentina (16:00)
Tues 5 Mar vs Chile (14:00)SA team:
Miguel da Graca, Clint Panther, Ricky West, Oliver Whiteley, Rassie Pieterse (all Southern Gauteng);Lloyd Norris-Jones
, Craig Haley, Ashlin Freddy, Austin Smith
, Pierre de Voux (all Western Province);Taine Paton
, Tim Drummond, Gowan Jones (all KZN Coastal Raiders);
Jethro Eustice (KZN Inland);Jonty Robinson
, Rhett Halkett
(capt), Matt Guise-Brown (all Northern Blues);Julian Hykes