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SA women go down to Olympic champs in Hungary

Fina

By Mark Etheridge

South Africa’s water polo players face another uphill struggle at the Fina World Aquatic Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

The tournament got under way on Sunday with the women undergoing a real baptism of fire in the shape of the world’s best side, world and Olympic champions, the United States.

They went down 24-2 and the players will know they’ve been in a game now.

The South Africans were down 6-0 after the first quarter and shipped another seven goals in the next quarter.

The third quarter was their best as they held the Americans to 5-2, but the US pulled away with another six goals in the final quarter. Goal-scorers for South Africa were Megan Schooling and Nicola Barret.

The women’s team have been in Hungary since 8 July at a pre-tournament, where they played matches against New Zealand, France, Japan and the Hungarian University team. ‘It was great preparation for the team and we were able to bond and get some good game experience and training in,’ said captain Kelsey White.

‘We have a few debut girls at their first-ever Fina World Champs and we’re all very excited for what this year’s champs have in store for us.’

The men’s side are led by veteran Pierre le Roux, with his younger brother also in the side.

The former is the only member of the 2005 Fina World Champs team that competed in Montreal more than a decade ago.

Julian Lewis returns for his second World Champs with Themba Mthembu  the new hotshot of SA Water Polo GK – seconding him up in the goals. Huge centre-forwards Devon Card and Nardus Badenhorst are also in the mix again, leading the attack.

The oldest player on the team is Jon Marc de Carvalho, back for his third Fina World Champs, while speedsters Nicholas Molyneaux and Nick Rodda are both also regular faces and bring the speed to the SA game.

Lood Rabie, Roarke Olver, Dean Whyte and Chris Brown make up the rest of the team.

The team face Serbia (Monday), Greece and Spain in their Pool C games, aptly dubbed the pool of death for this year’s championships.


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