SA hockey men ‘are ready’

2015-01-05 00:00

JETHRO Eustice, one of the two most experienced players in what is arguably the least seasoned South Africa national men’s hockey team for some time, said yesterday night that the vibe in the camp is good ahead of the first Test against Austria, which takes place at Queensmead in Durban at 6 pm today.

“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 in the 24-man squad here,” said Eustice.

A remarkable 13 players in the 24-man SA team either live in Durban, or come from Durban and Pietermaritzburg schools or universities, which should add much personal interest for KZN inland and coastal hockey fans.

“Jonty and I have had meetings with the new players and explained what is expected of them, and following the chat, the guys have raised the bar even further in training,” said Eustice

And head coach Fabian Gregory has spearheaded a busy schedule that has kept the players on the go at training sessions, as well as team meetings, tactical discussions and intensive set-piece work over the past three 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 and take that promise to the international stage.

“It is a challenge for youngsters to cross that bridge but you don’t know how they will handle it until given the chance,” he said. “At the same time, we need to broaden our players base in order to provide more competition for places in the team, as there will not be any toleration for senior or junior players in the group who think they can rest on their laurels.”

Fredericks said that hockey is continually reinventing itself at elite level and the SA selection panel needs to keep an open mind when seeking to identify young players with the skill set needed to succeed.


Queensmead: Today (6 pm); tomorrow (6 pm); Thursday (6 pm); Friday (2 pm).


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).

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