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Eustice excited ahead of young hockey side’s challenge against Austria
- Updated: January 5, 2015
Centre back Jethro Eustice, one of the two most experienced players in what is arguably the least experienced South Africa national men’s hockey team for some time, says the vibe in the camp is good ahead of Monday’s first Test against Austria at Queensmead in Durban.
‘Jonty Robinson has 80-odd caps and I am on 50 now, so we do have major tournament experience that we can pass on to the 15 uncapped players here,’ said Eustice. ’Jonty and I have had meetings with the new players and explained what is expected of them, and the guys have raised the bar,’ said Eustice.
Jon Cook reports that SA head coach Fabian Gregory has spearheaded a busy schedule that has kept the players on the go at training session after training session as well as team meetings, tactical discussions and intensive set-piece work over the last few days at Queensmead.
Convenor of selectors Ally Fredericks said his panel were looking to see who could make the jump from excelling at national domestic tournaments like the senior inter-provincial and take that promise further.
Fredericks said hockey is continually reinventing itself at elite level, making it imperative that the SA selection panel keep as open a mind as possible in seeking to identify young players with the skills set and associated attributes needed to succeed on the world stage.
‘At the same time, we need to broaden our player base in order to provide more competition for places in the team, as on my watch senior or junior players who think they can rest on their laurels will not be tolerated.
‘It is a challenge for youngsters to cross that bridge but you don’t know how they will handle it until given the chance,’ said Fredericks, the former SA World Cup and Olympic Games striker.
‘The team that finds the best mix of tactics, skills and discipline will come out well,’ said Austria striker Michael Koerter.
(all at Queensmead in Durban)
Tues, 6 Jan (6pm)
Thurs, 8 Jan (6pm)
Fri, 9 Jan (2pm)
SA TEAM vs AUSTRIA
Goalkeepers: Richard Curtis, Gowan Jones (both KZN Coastal Raiders), Chad Durrheim (Eastern Province), Jason Briggs (Southern Gauteng).
Defenders: Mohammed Mea (KZN Coastal Raiders), Daniel Bell (Western Province), Leneal Jackson, Robin Jones (both KZN Inland), Matt Guise-Brown (Northern Blues), Gareth Heyns, Jethro Eustice (both Southern Gauteng).
Midfielders: Ross Hetem, Dan Sibbald (both KZN Coastal Raiders), Marc Fourie (WP), Taylor Dart (Southern Gauteng), Chad Cairncross (EP), Jonty Robinson (Northern Blues).
Strikers: Andrew Manson, Mondli Dlamini (both KZN Coastal Raiders), Richard Pautz (Northern Blues), Keenan Horne, Shannon Boucher (both WP), Brandon Panther (Southern Gauteng), Dalan Phillips EP).
Picture: Rodrigo Jaramillo