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Halkett’s lads face another two hurdles in Brazil

The unbeaten South Africa men’s hockey team face two hurdles this weekend as the World League Round 2 tournament goes into its third and fourth rounds but captain Rhett Halkett is confident that the lads are up for the challenge.

The 9-0 win over Brazil and 6-1 defeat of the USA made for a good start to the round-robin event in which the top two teams qualify for the World League semi-finals in June/July, reports JonCook from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

ÔÇ£Yes, it was a great start,ÔÇØ said Halkett. ÔÇ£There are no second chances in this tournament format so we need to take care of business every time we go out there and I am proud of the way the lads have gone about it.ÔÇØ

World No 12 SA tackle Trinidad& Tobago at 4pm (SA time) Saturday before taking on world No10’s Argentina, the favourites, at 4pm on Sunday.

T&T gave SA a real workout at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi before the lads in green and gold prevailed. ÔÇ£Yes, it was a very close affair and that’s what is wonderful about international hockey, the rankings go out the window and anything can happen in those 70 minutes,ÔÇØ the SA skipper said. ÔÇ£We have got to make sure we are as prepared as possible.ÔÇØ

If and when SA have three more points in the bag from the T&T game, there is Sunday’s much-anticipated crunch with the men from the Pampas.

ÔÇ£We beat Argentina for the bronze medal at the 2011 Champions Challenge in Randburg while they beat us at London 2012 so the matches have always been thrilling encounters and the lads are very excited about taking them on again,ÔÇØ the Northern Blues defender said. ÔÇ£But we are not getting ahead of ourselves, our motto is one game at a time, so T&T are next in line and that is where our focus is right now.ÔÇØ

For SA striker Lloyd Norris-Jones, Saturday will be an extra-special occasion as he plays in his 100th Test match. And the scorer of four goals in two games (the same as midfielder Clint Panther) notched his 50th goal for SA against the USA on Thursday.

SA head coach Charlie Pereira will be hoping the pair can continue finding the back of the net this weekend.


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