SA polo team off to play in the snow

2013-01-23 00:00

THE South African polo team left for Beijing yesterday to take part in the Federation of International Polo’s World Cup Snow Polo tournament.

The event takes place at the Golding Metropolitan Polo Club in Tianjin (approximately two hours drive from Beijing) with 12 nations competing for the World Snow Polo trophy.

The South African team consists of Tom de Bruin (seven goals), Chris MacKenzie (five) and Lance Watson (four), with Terence Spilsbury (four) travelling as reserve.

Competition will be intense, but the team has plenty of experience and a pedigree to get to the finals. De Bruin was in last year’s team that lost to Hong Kong in the final while Chris MacKenzie (son of former SA team captain Buster MacKenzie) is used to big occasions having played in Britain’s high-goal league for the past two seasons.

Snow polo is played on a smaller field with only three players per team as opposed to the normal four. Conditions in China are bitterly cold with temperatures up to -12 during the day. Warm clothing is the order of the day with players needing thermal under clothing and gloves to keep warm during play. Horses are all shod with normal shoes, but have studs all round to give better grip in the snow.

Countries taking part in the tournament are last year’s winners, Hong Kong, Argentina, England, the United States, India, France, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The tournament takes place over two weeks with the finals being contested on February 3.

South Africa will then travel to take on the mighty New Zealanders in their own back yard in a one-off international on February 9.

New Zealand traditionally invite a high-goal polo team to compete in their sponsored International Day, which takes place annually at the KihiKihi Polo Club not far from Auckland.

South Africa will field a 26-goal team comprising the following players: number one Duncan Watson (five goals); 2. Jean du Plessis (6); 3. Nachi du Plessis (8) (captain); 4. Tom de Bruin (7).

This will be one of the highest-rated teams to leave our shores and with all four players still in their early 20s, South African polo looks set for many years to come.

All four players have had international experience with De Bruin and the two Du Plessis brothers representing South Africa in the Coronation Cup against England last year. Watson did duty for South Africa against India in the BMW International Series in August 2012 where the home side took the series 2-0.

New Zealand will field an equivalent 26-goal team, spearheaded by the experienced JP Clarkin playing off eight goals. The rivalry between these two countries goes back many years with New Zealand winning their last tour to South Africa (BMW International Series in 2010) 2-0. However, the South Africans are far stronger and more experienced this time around and, provided they are adequately mounted, they should provide a strong challenge for the Kiwis.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.