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SA hockey sides take on Germany, NZ at World Cup
- Updated: June 3, 2014
Our national hockey teams go into their second Group B matches respectively at the World Cup in The Hague, Holland on Tuesday with the Investec women’s team tackling world No6 Germany at 10.30am at the Kyocera Stadium while the SA men’s side face the sixth-ranked New Zealand Black Sticks on the Greenfields Stadium turf at 2.30pm.
Jon Cook reports that the world’s 11th ranked SA women will welcome back super-fast striker Sulette Damons after the Graaff-Reinet born and bred sharpshooter sat out Sunday’s opener against reigning world champs Argentina, which the girls in green and gold lost 4-1.
Resting what Damons described as ÔÇ£just an injury niggleÔÇØ was a wise precaution as SA go into their remaining Group B clashes where they will have a more realistic chance of picking up log points.
Head coach Giles Bonnet said SA defended well in the first half against Argentina while in the latter part of the second half the South Africans brought the ball forward in promising fashion, ÔÇ£but weren’t able to create enough out of the possession we had in and around the circle. It’s an area in which we have got to keep improving.ÔÇØ
The SA women, including Nicolene Terblanche, right had no active training on Monday and should be hungry to face the Germans, who weren’t convincing in their 1-1 draw with China.
Meanwhile, the world’s 12th ranked SA men did have a training day as head coach Fabian Gregory looked to iron out some of the hiccups from Sunday’s 4-0 defeat by 2008 and 2012 Olympic champions Germany. The New Zealanders edged South Korea 2-1 on Sunday.
ÔÇ£Our defence was better than in our recent matches against Germany and we might have gone into half-time 1-0 down instead of two,ÔÇØ said the coach, who added that Tuesday’s training and discussions were about looking at how to make more of possession in the attacking third, as well as ways to cut out the dangerous diagonal balls from left to right that were the team’s biggest concern on Sunday.
After meeting New Zealand on Tuesday, the SA men’s remaining Group B matches see the African champions facing world number seven South Korea at 5.30pm on Friday; world three Holland at 7.45pm Sunday and world number 11 Argentina at 10.30am next Tuesday.
What both SA head coaches will also be looking to see Tuesday is an improvement in winning penalty corners. Neither SA side won a PC on Sunday, which negates South Africa’s strength in this facet of play
Picture: Stanislas Brochier