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SA hold Argentina

Driving rain was the order of the evening as the third Test between the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team and world champions Las Leonas (The Lionesses) of Argentina unfolded at the University of Free State hockey centre in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.

SA were 1-0 up at half-time after failing to get on the scoreboard in the consecutive 2-0 defeats to the 2010 world champs, Shelley Russell netting a fine field goal in the 16th minute.

Argentina finally drew level in the 42nd minute when the South Americans’ player of the match Josefina Sruoga took advantage of a hesitant SA defence to net a screamer past the outstanding Sanani Mangisa in goal.

The match swung from end to end in the persistent rain and it was a wet debut for Free State striker Hettie Oosthuizen who threw herself around the turf in a bid to support her team-mates.

The home supporters who braved the biting cold and wet conditions roared their team on in the quest for what would have been a surprise result to the hockey world, but agony was evident in their faces as the Argentineans worked their way through with neat passing to set up Julieta Alonso for the winner with one minute left on the clock.

SA left out Pietie Coetzee, the world-class striker and goalscorer from set pieces who was given a rest, and head coach Giles
Bonnet backed his youngsters in a bold move that nearly paid off.

With SA now out of the series rubber, their task is to take a test match off the tourists, who go into the fourth Test on Thursday and Friday’s fifth Test match with an unassailable 3-0 series lead.


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