SA teams gear up for HWC

Hockey men (Gallo)
Hockey men (Gallo)

Johannesburg - The South African national hockey teams are gearing up for the last week of training ahead of the World Cup in The Hague, which starts on May 31, and apart from focused training sessions the teams are also playing training matches.

"The training and preparation is going to plan and our processes are on track," the women's hockey team logistics planner and goalkeeper coach Sheldon Rostron said Thursday.

"We still have some more trainings coming up and it's important that we get time on the stadium pitches so that we get used to the new surface and environment."

The South African women were due to train at the 15 000-seater stadium pitch as well as the 5 000-capacity alternate pitch, where the World Cup matches will take place.

They have been in training in the Netherlands since mid-May. They are playing training matches in the build-up against the like of double Olympic champions Holland as well as New Zealand, Korea and Italy.

"We achieved some important goals when we played the Netherlands on Wednesday nifhr and were quite satisfied with our second-half performance, especially on key focus points in defence, structures and creating opportunities,"said Rostron.

She said Tarryn Bright was outstanding in the midfield, and the collective effort of the defence and goalkeepers Sanani Mangisa and Anelle van Deventer was also impressive.

"We feel happy with our ability to match their speed and strength and this gives us a lot of confidence. There are still some things to tighten up but on the whole our focus will be on areas in our structure as well as tactically."

The men's team arrived in the Netherlands on Wednesday and were due to play Dutch "Hoofdklasse" (Premier League) team Rotterdam HC Thursday night after a three-hour training session.

Team manager Reggie Smith said the South Africans were also due to play Dutch "Hoofdklasse" team Pinoke on May 27, India on May 28 and Holland on May 30.

The SA men will be working on their defence as this facet, both in field play and at penalty corners, has let them down, which has forced the side to work that much harder to get back into the game.

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