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SA take on England in World League clash

The world’s 12th-ranked South Africa men’s hockey team embark on an ambitious plan to finish in the top four of the eight-team World League Semi-Final tournament in Johor, Malaysia when they take on world No4 England in the first round of matches in Pool B on Saturday.

Then SA meet world No13 Malaysia on Sunday and the final Pool B match is against world No5 Pakistan at 3pm SA time on Tuesday.

Success in the back-to-back matches will set South Africa up for a productive week, and a top four placing in the tournament will almost certainly qualify South Africa for a place in the eight-team World League Final tournament in Delhi in January next year.

It will also almost certainly ensure that SA qualify for the 2014 World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands next June.

The last time South Africa met England was at the London 2012 Olympic Games, a match that ended in a draw, where a contentious video referral might have cost SA full match points.

SA have recently come off a 3-0 series win over Malaysia and the host nation will be hell-bent on revenge Sunday, but an impressive 4-1 win over Japan in a practice match bodes well for the South Africans.

SA striker Julian Hykes was in great form in the Malaysia series and will hopefully have recovered from the health problems that saw him miss the Japan game.

The teams in Pool A are world number one Germany as well as Argentina, Korea and Japan.

SOUTH AFRICA

Rassie Pieterse (Southern Gauteng), Gowan Jones (KZN Coastal Raiders); Austin Smith (capt, Western Province), Francois Pretorius (Northern Blues), Rhett Halkett (vice-capt, WP), Lance Louw (SG), Jethro Eustice (SG); Jonty Robinson (NB), Clint Panther (SG), Wade Paton (KCR), Tim Drummond (KCR), Nick Gonsalves (SG), Taine Paton (KCR); Julian Hykes (SG), Craig Haley (WP), Pierre de Voux (WP), Miguel da Graca (SG), Lloyd Norris-Jones (WP).


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