50-up for Lance, Rassie | SASCOC - SASCOC

50-up for Lance, Rassie

Lance Louw and Rassie Pieterse will turn out in their 50th international appearances for the SA men’s hockey team when they take to the field against Wales in the Celtic Cup in Lisburn on Saturday.

Louw, who made his debut against Germany in 2007, said he was honoured to have reached the milestone and he was pleased to be playing alongside the current crop of players in the South African setup, writes Sapa’s PJ van Rooyen.

“I’ve spent most of my caps with the bunch of guys I’m playing with now so it’s quite a big thing for me,” said Johannesburg-based Louw.

“Playing with the guys I played my first cap with is awesome.”

Louw celebrated his 49th appearance with a goal in Thursday’s 4-2 loss to Ireland in South Africa’s Celtic Cup opener ÔÇô only his fourth in international hockey ÔÇô and he was pleased with his personal development as a player since earning his first cap five years ago.

“From my first cap to my 50th coming up, I think there have been huge steps,” he said.

“I would say the last 10 caps have been the pinnacle of my career so far.

“The development has been going upwards from where I started.

“Looking back from where I started, to where I’m going to now, the structures have been coming into place.

“Off the field things have been coming into place and we’ve started to gel more, which is good for us.”

Reflecting on his career, Louw said he had many happy memories since making his first start for the national team but was looking forward to making his debut at the London Olympics, an event he viewed as a huge step in the development of his career.

“The Olympics is any sportsman’s dream so I’m looking forward to the event, which will be much bigger than my 50th cap.

“The Olympics will be my career highlight and playing [at the Olympic qualifiers] in Japan was a big milestone for me as well.”

Goalkeeper Pieterse, who earned his first cap in 2007, also looked forward to reaching the milestone.

“Its a great achievement for me,” Pieterse said. “I’m just a little bit sad that the game is not against Scotland [South Africa’s opponents on Sunday], who I made my debut against, but I’m very happy.”