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SA water polo side put their hands up against mighty Hungarians
- Updated: July 29, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
The South African men’s water polo side went down 17-4 to world champions Hungary at the FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia on Wednesday but were anything but disgraced.
The vastly experienced East European outfit were frankly never going to be in danger of losing this Group C preliminary fixture but the South Africans didn’t step back an inch, although they frequently found themselves being swamped, quite literally, by the huge Hungarians.
The white-capped South Africans, pictured in pre-game mood, were 5-1 down after the first quarter but did well to hold the Hungarians 0-3 in the second and there was only a two-goal difference (2-4) in the third quarter before the final quarter was once again a 1-5 scoreline.
Nic Molyneaux was first on the scoring sheet for SA and he went on to double his tally while Dayne Jagga and Nicholas Hock also got onto the scoresheet for the rainbow nation.
Against such formidable opposition it’s safe to say that the men did well to even get on the scoreboard and the fact that they did on four separate occasions was a moral victory for captain Pierre le Roux’s men.
‘Yes, it was actually a very solid team performance, Le Roux told Road to Rio 2016. ‘Hungary are really something special… those Varga brothers [Daniel and Denes] are ridiculous! But we defended the man-down situations and six on six very well. They were always going to be just a little bit stronger and faster on the day but we are certainly not despondent at all.
Le Roux confirmed just how imposing the Hungarian hulks were in the Kazan Arena pool. ‘Brutes is a good word to use and we could really have used a few Bismarck du Plessis or Bakkie Botha rugby-types in our team today.’
The Johannesburg based captain went on heap special praise on a few team-members, especially the under-siege goalkeeper, Julian Lewis who was probably SA’s busiest player in the warm 26 deg Celsius water. ‘In goals he was fantastic today. And big credit must go to all three centre-forwards, Devon Card, Nardus Badenhorst and Dayne. They managed to set up a good platform for us to play from. And special mention must go to Dayne for scoring his first World Championships goal. Hopefully there’ll be many more to come in a long career.’
Going forward and Friday will determine the SA team’s fate. ‘We play Kazahkstan in our final pool game and that will determine second and third in the pool. Second would obviously ensure an easier qualification game to be honest there aren’t a whole heap of easy games to be found around here.’