SA men's team named

2012-02-14 21:52

Cape Town - The South African men’s hockey team has been named to face Austria and Germany in official Test matches in February and March.

The SA men’s side shows a number of changes from the side that did duty in the 1-1 series draw against world No 4 Great Britain, with a host of players having to return to work, but it does give players in head coach Gregg Clark’s extended squad the opportunity to put their hands up.

Clark has made it very clear that the SA team is by no means a closed shop but it is significant that the likes of national captain Austin Smith is unavailable for both series, as are the likes of Lloyd Madsen, Justin Reid-Ross and 2011 SA Player of the Year Taine Paton, among others.

The consequence is that an untried, very inexperienced South African team will take the field against Austria in a two-Test series at the Randburg Hockey Stadium on February 25 and 26 as well against world No 2 Germany, the reigning Olympic Games champions, in a three-Test series at the University of the Free State Hockey Centre in Bloemfontein on March 2, 4 and 6.

The experience gained and the chance to impress Clark, as well as the goal of getting into the team to represent SA at the Olympic Qualifier Tournament in Japan in April/May, where captain Smith’s team has to win gold to gain entry to the London 2012 Olympics, will serve as enough incentive for this particular group in the green and gold to give a good account of themselves.

SA team:

Rassie Pieterse, Ricky West, Owen Mvimbi, Thornton McDade (all Southern Gauteng); Andrew Cronje, Clive Terwin, Grant Robertson, Lloyd Norris-Jones, Craig Haley (all Western Province); Peter Bailey (Eastern Province); Francois Pretorius (Northern Blues); Tim Drummond, Wade Paton, Marvin Harper, Gowan Jones (all KZN Coastal Raiders); Julian Hykes (Amathole-Border).