Scotland coach lauds SA player

2013-06-21 00:00

SCOTLAND women’s hockey team head coach Gordon Shepherd has come out in praise of South African attacking midfielder Shelley Russell, following the four-match Test series that ended on Tuesday night in Edinburgh.

“I felt Russell was on great form and her pace was used well, and I think her skill set has become better since I last saw her,” said the Scotland mentor in reflecting on his team’s 2-1 loss in the series.

SA lost the first Test 3-2, before winning the second and third Test matches 4-1 and 5-2 respectively. The fourth Test was 10-goal thriller with the spoils shared evenly.

Shepherd also feels SA should make more use of Russell’s fellow midfielder, double Olympian and Western Province team-mate, Tarryn Bright. “Bright was good at times, but I think they could use her more.”

Another one of the aspects that the canny Scot was impressed with were the SA forwards. “I thought the forwards did very well throughout the series.”

Shepherd said the SA forwards’ basic skills were good, as was South Africa’s success in playing long balls through to the strikers.

World number 11 South Africa met world number two, reigning World Cup champions and London 2012 Olympics silver medallists Argentina in a training session match yesterday evening ahead of the Investec World League semi-

finals tournament, which begins for the girls in green and gold when they tackle world number four England at 8 pm (SA time) tomorrow.

The Argentina affair was likely to be divided into three chukkas as part of the preparation for both sides ahead of the opening round of World League matches at the University of Westminster in Chiswick, London, today.

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