SA hockey men tackle Britain

2012-02-02 21:17

Cape Town - The South African men’s hockey team face a tough outing come 19:00 on Friday at Hartleyvale Hockey Stadium here when they take on world No 4 Great Britain in the first of three Test matches in the Western Cape.

The Great Britain team is made up of players from England, Scotland and Wales. The three countries play as separate nations in other international tournaments. Great Britain only plays in the Olympic Games.

The three-Test series gives SA head coach Gregg Clark the opportunity to test his squad against one of the world’s top hockey teams ahead of the crucial Olympic Qualifier Tournament in Japan from April 26 to May 6, which SA have to win to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics.

The second and third Test matches are at the Stellenbosch Astro on Tuesday, February 7 and on Saturday, February 11, both matches starting at 19:00.

Captain Austin Smith’s world No 12 SA line-up will also play two international matches against top Dutch club Pinoke on Thursday, February 9 at 19:00 and on Sunday, February 12 at 12:00.

Clark’s team shows six changes from the SA line-up that lost 3-1 to India in a five-Test series in Delhi last month.

While the SA team are creating lots of opportunities, the Achilles heel of the talented men in green and gold has been the relatively high number that have not been converted. However, that very ability to carve open defences suggests that the team’s build-up play is right on the money.

The prevention of soft goals will also be an area of attention

SA team:

Rassie Pieterse, Lance Louw, Clint Panther, Thornton McDade (all Southern Gauteng); Andrew Cronje, Austin Smith (capt), Ian Haley, Lloyd Norris-Jones (all Western Province); Brendon Botes (Eastern Province); Justin Reid-Ross, Rhett Halkett, Jonty Robinson (all Northern Blues); Wade Paton, Lloyd Madsen, Gareth Carr, Tim Drummond, Marvin Harper (KZN Coastal Raiders); Julian Hykes (Amatole-Border). Head coach: Gregg Clark.


03 Feb SA vs GB  at Hartleyvale at 19h00
07 Feb SA vs GB at Stellenbosch at 19h00
09 Feb SA vs Pinoke at Hartleyvale at 19h00
11 Feb SA vs GB at Stellenbosch at 19h00
12 Feb SA vs Pinoke at Hartleyvale at 12h00