SA ready for England in world league semi-final opener

2013-06-22 00:00

THE opening round of the Investec World League semi-finals tournament begins at the University of Westminster in Chiswick, London, today, and the mood in the camp of co-captain Lenise Marais’s side is a confident one.

South Africa are ranked 11th in the world and Marais said the players are ready to face the challenge of world number four England in a match to be televised live on SuperSport 2 at 8 pm SA time.

“We had good match preparation and training in Scotland, and we are ready,” said Marais of South Africa’s 2-1 series win in the four Test matches played in Edinburgh, which finished on Tuesday.

“There were four hard Test matches and we also got in some quality training sessions, and are looking forward to the challenge,” said the KZN Coastal Raiders defender.

Pietie Coetzee, the most successful goal scorer in the history of women’s Test-match hockey, has, with 10 goals in the four Tests this week against Scotland, taken her tally to 272 goals in 267 Test matches, yet the South African superstar striker still feels there is room for improvement.

“I am not at my best yet and there are areas I want to improve on,” Coetzee (34) said yesterday.

The SA team are Test-hardened but will need to be on top of their game against an England line-up that features superstar forward Alex Danson, captain and penalty-corner exponent Kate Walsh, as well as Ashleigh Ball, among the big names.

The 4-3 defeat against Olympic silver medallists Argentina in the three chukkas of 20 minutes apiece, which were played in London late on Thursday, presented a positive outcome for the team, said assistant coach Fabian Gregory.

“In the first two stanzas we were put under pressure and that is to be expected against the Olympic silver medallists as it’s a step up from [world number 19] Scotland and it forced the players to think and act quicker,” said Gregory. “We had a very good third session and scored some very good goals.”

SA TEAM

Sanani Mangisa (Southern Gauteng), Phume Mbande (Northern Blues), Lenise Marais (KZN Coastal Raiders), Marcelle Keet (Border), Nicolene Terblanche (NB), Illse Davids (Western Province), Shelley Russell (WP), Tarryn Bright (WP), Pietie Coetzee (SG), Quanita Bobbs (WP), Sulette Damons (North West), Dirkie Chamberlain (NB), Jade Mayne (WP), Tanya Britz (Free State), Lilian du Plessis (NB), Izelle Lategan (FS), Kelly Madsen (KCR), Marsha Marescia (SG).

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